Tech Toys: Propeller, DJI partner on drones, Ditch Witch releases VR simulator
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.
Propeller, DJI partner on PPK drone
Last week, cloud-based drone analytics provider Propeller announced a partnership with drone technology provider DJI to develop a "tightly integrated" PPK (post processed kinematic) workflow that combines the DJI Phantom 4 RTK drone, an AeroPoint and Propeller's cloud processing platform.
The system provides photogrammetric model outputs with 3-centimeter accuracy from independent checkpoints across small and large survey areas, according to a joint press release. In addition, the Propeller PPK solution can reduce the time it takes to conduct a drone survey by 70%, the companies said.
"We are excited about this partnership because it broadens the use of DJI drones to deliver accurate data at a cost-efficient price point, helping teams better answer questions about site progress and productivity," said Jan Gasparic, DJI director of strategic partnerships.
A VR simulator for HDD machines
Ditch Witch introduced a virtual reality simulator aimed at preparing horizontal directional drill (HDD) operators for safe underground construction. The kit, according to a company-issued press release, includes a portable operator station, the same joystick used on Ditch Witch HDD equipment, a dongle, a lead motion detector sensor and VR goggles.
The simulator allows operators to "familiarize themselves with HDD equipment and experience a realistic jobsite without the potential risks of putting a novice operator in complex environment,” said Greg Wolfe, Ditch Witch director of training. Novice and experienced users can practice their skills and feel how the drill reacts in a variety of soil conditions and applications within a 360-degree environment, the company says. The program emphasizes damage prevention and helps users get comfortable with the various machine and steering functions.
TrueLook's high-resolution jobsite camera
TrueLook last week announced its 4K pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) robotic camera, which offers higher resolution and mobility than previous models, according to a company-issued press release. The company's products combine jobsite viewing, time-lapse and HD security recording functions.
The 4K PTZ camera's 4K resolution is about four times higher than TrueLook's 1080-pixel model and is able to switch between 120-volt power and solar power, the company says, which means customers don't have to reconfigure the device when it's moved to a new location.
Development of the 4K PTZ camera comes after "a year of progress and innovation" centered on product quality and customer service, said chief marketing officer Ken Pittman.
"Bring-your-own-device" grade control from Trimble
Construction hardware and software provider Trimble unveiled Trimble Earthworks GO!, that runs on Android and iOS platforms and provides high-accuracy 2D grading for compact machine grading attachments, according to a company-issued press release. Scott Crozier, general manager of Trimble civil engineering and construction, called it a "bring-your-own-device" solution that "makes grade control technology affordable and easy to use for contractors."
Trimble Earthworks GO! can be used in general construction, site preparation and utility work to grade flat and simple slopes. Using laser technology that provides real-time position information, the platform allows operators to grade or cut profiles quickly, the company says, and can increase an operator's productivity by up to 20%. The product should be available during the fourth quarter of 2018.
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