- McCarthy Building Companies is teaming up with PrecisionHawk to develop custom software that will use drone-captured data to analyze construction activity, according to the company.
- The general contractor will use the drone software maker's platform to create 3-D and 4-D models that can be used for productivity tracking, site surveying, schedule management and more.
- McCarthy already uses drones, meaning the partnership with PrecisionHawk highlights the technology becoming further engrained in firm’s construction process.
Despite large contractors like McCarthy adopting small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology, drones' use in construction is minimal.
For now, that is.
The Federal Aviation Administration expects more than 400,000 commercial drones to take flight through 2021. That's up from 42,000 at the end of last year.
Formal rules handed down by the FAA last August spelling out how businesses can use drones will be a major driver behind that adoption. The regulations add clarity where there was ambiguity and streamline drone use for many common, simple applications that previously required individual approval from the FAA.
Of course, the regulations aren't perfect. Operators still can't fly drones at night or out of their line of sight without the FAA's OK. But having an enforceable framework, and no longer requiring a licensed pilot, was necessary for the further development and application of drones industry-wide. That has opened direct operation of drones to companies beyond the service providers whose core value has been — and likely still will be — wading through the FAA red tape to secure approvals for drone usage and then executing that work on the job site.
McCarthy’s enterprise drone program is evidence of that. The company opted to build its UAV competency from within, rather than relying on a third-party service provider to do the work, though it is open to those partnerships, too, according to DroneDeploy.