Skycatch is a drone data software company in the United States who’s tagline is: Connecting people and machines to the real-time physical world. It is a tagline that indicates what the future of construction could look like. Machines doing what the people would be doing in real-time. The company recently received funding to the tune of $22 million that would see them producing hardware and software for unmanned aerial vehicles that would assist with civil engineering endeavours.
According to BBC News, a Japanese construction company named Komatsu is taking Skycatch’s hardware and software further by implementing the technology into automated bulldozers. Reportedly, the drones would deliver a 3D model of a building to a computer and then the information is sent to the unmanned machinery so that it can successfully do its job on a construction site.
The drones look down on a construction site and can produce data about the site for the civil engineers that would be able to estimate how long a job is going to take based on the analytics.
Skycatch’s chief executive, Christian Sanz, spoke to BBC, saying: “The more visible data that you have on a site, the more you’ll see machines and robots moving things around rather than humans.”
Mapping a site has never been easier than with the drones that scan the entire site and turn into a virtual design that is easily accessible to the civil engineers to peruse. “With the former, traditional method, it takes about two weeks, on average, to survey a certain piece of land. Meanwhile, with Skycatch it can be completely down within one day, or even 30 minutes,” says Kenishi Nishihara, a project manager with the Smart Construction division.
A website called Wise Guy Reports has compiled a 60-page report that states that the global market research they conducted on the civil construction industry revealed that the global market for construction robots will grow by more than 5% by 2020. The report also said that Japan is the pioneer of the application of robots in the automated construction industry. So it is no surprise that Komatsu is interested in Skycatch.
Alternatively, Technavio also released a reported titled Global Mobile Robotics Market 2016-2020 and estimated that the robotics market would spike by 12% by 2020.
Komatsu is calling their drone-ground-scanning-bulldozer-navigating initiative is being called ‘Smart Construction’. Martin Schulz, an economist at Fujitsu Research Institute in Tokyo, spoke to Bloomberg last year, saying: “The labor shortage in the construction industry could reach a crisis level in the next few years.”