Technologies like BIM, drones, virtual reality and real-time workflow software have made an entrance that will forever alter the scope of the construction industry. Every few weeks, Construction Dive provides a roundup of the latest technology product announcements that promise to boost productivity by saving contractors time, money and labor. To view the entire series, click here.
Machine learning powers new DroneDeploy mapping tool
DroneDeploy this month released a machine learning-powered mapping tool that generates 3D reconstructions of 2D images. Map Engine uses computer vision to determine lines, motion and light patterns as well as identify trees, cars and other objects in an area to stitch together an accurate representation of the space.
DroneDeploy says the product, which was first released in beta, is able to “get smarter” and better at processing data as more customers use it. The current version is able to generate models 30% to 50% faster than the beta version, according to the company, and is able to process hundreds of images in under an hour.
Map Engine allows users to transfer images from their mobile devices to the cloud for immediate processing as well as create large maps from up to 10,000 images, but both of these features remain in beta.
Bricklaying robot hits major milestone
Bricklaying construction robot “Hadrian X” is one step closer to its goal of building a three-bedroom, two-bathroom structure by the end of the year, manufacturer Fastbrick Robotics Limited announced today. The robot passed testing of Fastbrick’s proprietary Dynamic Stabilization Technology (DST), which allows the layhead to place a block precisely despite movement in the boom.
Video credit: Fastbrick Robotics
Researchers simulated external environmental forces using ropes, according to the announcement, but video footage of the testing shows Hadrian X was able to successfully grip the block and stack it directly on top of another block.
In the press release, CEO Mike Pivac called the test result a “major milestone” for the Hadrian X program, which demonstrates “functionality and adaptability” of the trademarked DST feature for a range of applications, not just bricklaying. The research team will next test maximum loads before the robot begins building structures in a controlled, factory environment.
Viewpoint scraps construction management silos
Construction management software provider Viewpoint debuted earlier this month ViewpointOne, a cloud-based platform that aims to eliminate the traditional silos that exist between project management, human resources and financial controls.
Viewpoint acquired enterprise resource planning (ERP) provider Keystyle Data Solutions in April, one of a number of recent acquisitions in the construction technology space. Among the programs contractors can select for their ViewpointOne bundle are: Keystyle HR Management, a mobile-friendly time-entry platform and resource for benefits and other information; Keystyle Financial Controls, which lets project management teams update invoices, bills or purchase orders from the field; and Keystyle Field Management, which provides remote visibility into jobsite activity and progress.
ViewpointOne simplifies information sharing between project teams, the company said, and enables real-time access to drawings, status updates, RFIs, daily logs and other critical project documentation.
Buildup digitizes the inspection process
The startup behind jobsite collaboration software Buildup released a new feature that aims to save construction professionals time on their required inspections.
Buildup Technologies' Checklist Per Unit is designed for safety, punch list or quality assurance inspections. When users upload one checklist, the feature auto-populates all the units within a project with their appropriate checklists, according to the announcement.
The module can also be customized according to field needs, Buildup said, with options like pass/fail selections, text entry and photo attachments to demonstrate tasks that are complete or incomplete. Checklist Per Unit also integrates with Buildup’s instant language translator for Spanish and English. The module is available for both the company’s mobile and web offerings, the announcement said.
Startup facilitates bidding between contractors and clients
A Swiss startup crowdfunding with bitcoin is developing a secure freelance platform on which contractors can bid on construction and renovation work listed by local clients. When a client lists project details on Builderium, contractors who are equipped to do that task are notified, according to the company’s whitepaper. Contractors can also come across listings by running searches for projects in their area and proceed to bid on work.
Builderium emphasizes “budget consideration and on-time completion,” the company said, and aims to facilitate conversations between contractors and clients on price, quality and schedules. The company also boasts that the “decentralized nature of the system will help to weed out fraudulent or criminal activities.”