Drones are being used for reconnaissance, data collection, observation, and natural resource management. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, predicted in 2013 that the drone industry could generate $82 billion in economic benefits for the nation by 2025 and 100,000 jobs. In construction, drones are well-received due to unprecedented levels of data mobility, access, and efficiency they lend to projects. They are also shown to reduce costs associated with poor communication from the field, as well as reducing material theft from jobsites, and increasing worker safety. The overall benefits include time and financial savings, improved safety, access to richer information, and improved decision-making. Some examples of successful drone usage are found in the Minnesota Dept. of Transportation’s bridge inspections, and pipeline inspections in Alaska. However, as use of drones and other activities grows, so do regulations. Drones in crowded construction sites do come with serious risks. They have been known to crash into and injure people and property alike. Liability insurance can be a problem. Oftentimes, contractor’s standard commercial general liability insurance doesn’t cover drones. There has been a proliferation of legislative proposals to regulate the domestic use of unmanned aircraft systems at the county and municipal levels. Many of the proposals have been drafted specifically to address privacy concerns regarding the use of UAS by public employees, and most of the proposals regulate UAS altitudes and proximity to airports in the regulated locality.
Building Information Modeling (BIM)