- 3D Robotics (3DR) has announced it will be integrating its Site Scan drone data platform with Autodesk BIM 360 to streamline project teams' ability to retrieve and share drone data from the job site.
- The move will enable Site Scan users to access CAD and PDF design files from BIM 360 and overlay those files onto orthomosaics for an up-to-date look at possible discrepancies between design and reality. If a team detects issues on the job site, users can input feedback on Site Scan orthomosaics and transmit that data to BIM 360 Field, where teams can then collaborate on a resolution.
- The integration will also allow for teams to share drone data into their BIM 360 accounts, making them accessible across platforms like Revit and BIM 360 Glue and Field.
3DR's ascent to become a leader in the drone space has been unmistakable since the AEC-focused company began drawing the attention of big-name investors.
In May, the company snagged $53 million in Series D funding from investors like Autodesk, Atlantic Bridge and True Ventures. With that funding, 3DR representatives said, the company would be investing in expanding its flagship product, Site Scan, and promoting it within the construction and engineering industries.
Three months later it did just that, announcing a new partnership with global drone maker — and former competitor — DJI. The move, which enables Site Scan to be compatible with DJI drones, opened the surveying technology software to a wider market.
Begun as a joint effort between 3DR, Autodesk and Sony, Site Scan's single-platform configuration has been reshaping how AEC companies collect and analyze aerial data since March 2016. Today, as more project teams eye greater efficiency in capturing, visualizing and processing construction data, that practice is becoming more mainstream. For companies that do succeed in streamlining the process, that achievement can mean a longer lead time in identifying and correcting potential mistakes, staying in line with project schedules and producing more accurate cost estimations.
"Our big bet is on BIM," according to Chris Anderson, CEO and co-founder of 3DR. "We think that BIM is the way the industry's going, not just because it's the right way to go, but because it's increasingly mandated."
Anderson said that shift can be attribute to a larger trend in the industry of a movement toward living documents, or those that are updated and accessible to project teams in real time.
"We think this is the biggest trend — this notion of digitizing construction and making living documents — and it will be over the next few decades. We're betting that this is going to become ubiquitous and standard. For us, that means [our product] goes from something that's a 'nice to have' to a 'must have.'"
Drone use is on the rise — particularly in the construction and infrastructure sectors — with construction slated to be the driving force backing commercial drone uptake. And with construction companies ready to integrate the technology into their workflow, the industry is estimated to be the fastest-growing market segment for commercial drones from now until 2026.
But drones aren't the only technology guiding the industry's digital transformation. The construction technology sector has snapped up an estimated $433 million in disclosed funding spread across 56 deals so far this year. And according to a McKinsey study, the industry could boost its productivity and see an added $1.6 trillion in value by adopting new technology and management techniques.