3D Robotics (3DR) is teaming up global drone maker DJI to make its Site Scan surveying technology compatible with that company's drones, opening the software to a wider market, 3DR announced Tuesday.
Now, DJI drones can be used to gather data with the Site Scan Field mobile app, which offers features including autonomous flight modes, multi-engine cloud processing, topographic surveys and volumetric calculations.
3DR also announced the launch of its Enterprise Atlas platform, allowing large AEC firms to establish and manage drone operations on the job site and subsequently analyze the data collected from project operations.
The AEC-focused 3DR is growing its foothold in the drone space as the technology takes off in the construction industry. In May, the company scored $53 million in Series D funding from investors including Atlantic Bridge, Autodesk and True Ventures. At the time, the Berkeley, CA–based company said it planned to invest that capital into expanding its flagship product, Site Scan, and marketing it toward construction and engineering firms.
With this latest development, 3DR seems to be making good on that promise.
Since its deployment in March 2016, Site Scan — a collaboration between 3DR, Autodesk and Sony — has, through its single-plaform format, attempted to transform how AEC firms capture and process aerial data.
Such practices are becoming more popular across the job site as project teams look to more efficient means of gathering, visualizing and analyzing construction data. The goal, for many, is to get ahead of potential errors, stay in line with project schedules and better estimate and achieve costs.
Drone use is on the rise, particularly within the construction and infrastructure sectors. According to a 2016 report from the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, those two categories are two of the biggest drone users across all industries. That pattern is likely to hold, with estimates from PricewaterhouseCoopers finding that drone-powered labor for infrastructure alone has a market value of $45.2 billion.
The rise of new tech like drones on the job site requires new ways to integrate the various, data-gathering hardware on the job — in the air and on the ground.
Mixed-fleet telematics, in turn, are spreading from earth-moving equipment to surveying drones, opening up new opportunities for data collection. In 2015, Komatsu announced a partnership with drone company Skycatch to automate and streamline on-site project data transfer.