Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are being used in many industries, e.g. agriculture, construction, mining, oil & gas, mapping, and surveying. In construction, drones have proven to be quite disruptive, offering huge productivity increases.

Gartner’s famous Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2016, positioned drones as just entering the Peak of Inflated Expectations. Gartner claims that, “Smart machine technologies will be the most disruptive class of technologies over the next 10 years due to radical computational power, near-endless amounts of data, and unprecedented advances in deep neural networks.”

Commercial UAVs are one of the smart machine technologies in question, together with smart robots, autonomous vehicles, cognitive expert advisors, and others.

Super-Fast Surveying of large areas

The killer feature of drones is their speed. According to Identified Technologies, the lead time of a traditional aerial survey of a 100-acre area (400,000 sqm) by helicopter is about 12 weeks. The total time includes a four-week booking lead time, data gathering, and data processing. For a manned survey team, the lead time for the same task is about seven weeks, of which data gathering takes four weeks. A subscription drone service gathers the data in nine minutes and provides the whole service in six hours!

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