- Samsung has patented a drone that can be controlled with your eyes, according to Construction Equipment.
- The drone comprises a flying display device similar to a smartphone screen and a main control unit, which is comparable to how today's drones are controlled. The device's integrated display monitors a person's face, pupils, hand gestures and position. That data is transmitted, in real-time, to the control unit where it commands the drone’s movement.
- The patent also involves a joint manipulator, which will modify the unit's flight angle and guide the propellors to alter the thrust direction, though coordinates may be adjusted in flight. The drone also has sensors that can accommodate future voice recognition, GPS and WiFi-based positioning, and smart device communication capabilities.
As drones continue to infiltrate jobsites, manufacturers like Samsung are developing increasingly sophisticated technologies around them. In December 2017, Amazon was awarded patents for drones that self-destruct in midair if something goes wrong, The Verge reported. Aerospace giant Boeing has a patent for a swimming drone that can launch from an aircraft, fly airborne, then lower itself into water, shed its wings and swim using propellors, according to IFL Science.
A Global Market Insights report predicts the commercial drone market will hit $17 billion by 2024. As the sector grows, regulations also grow, including drone airspace access. Last fall, The Federal Aviation Administration gave Skyward and AirMap the ability to grant access to controlled airspace for commercial drone operators.
Previously, operators had to wait 60 to 90 days to get approved. The current system sets guidelines for instant access. With AirMap, drone operators can request automated authorization for drone use within pre-designated areas and heights, and manual approvals for flights outside of those parameters.
Drones on the jobsite can collect and analyze data, leading to more streamlined operations and enhanced work safety. NVIDIA and Komatsu partnered last year on drones and AI on the jobsite. NVIDIA's AI platform will take data from drones to analyze how much equipment costs while in use and stationary, and will send data about workers’ interactions with each other, machinery and onsite objects.
Minnesota is using drones to help scan aging bridges. The devices can access hard-to-reach areas for safety inspections and can hover nearby trusses, piers and bearings while snapping thousands of high-resolution images that software then stitches together to create 3-D models.