Drones were apparently even buzzier than ever among major exhibitor booths at the big fat construction trade show known as ConExpo this year. Some takeaways from lucky ones who got to use up some of their shoe leather walking the 2.5 million square feet of floor space dedicated to the show, as well as the new addition of 70,000 sq. ft of technology for construction. From Construction Dive:
Drones: While surprisingly not crowding the airspace above ConExpo, drones and drone-related technology integrations were big news at the trade show. UAV experts told Construction Dive that the large public crowds and maze of erected crane-booms were a non-starter for an FAA waiver to fly at the show, restricting drone flights to a couple of small, contained flight cages at the Tech Experience campus.
Safety wearables and self-healing building materials
Not directly related to machines, but supporting the infrastructure on which they travel and the humans who — for the time being — are the command and control pilots behind the wheel, both self-healing concrete technologies and a wide range of safety wearables were featured in the infrastructure and workforce tents, respectively, at the Tech Experience.
Mobile apps for safety management on jobsites have advanced, too.
Another primary driver in the market is the demand for fall protection, including safety harnesses, lanyards, belts and connectors, self-retracting lifelines, and guardrail systems. Demand for fall protection is due to increasing construction activity in the Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions.
But beyond the dancing cranes spectacle, the big story was how many new functions for drones on jobsites, as reported by the Las Vegas Journal Review:
Global demand for drones in real estate and the construction industry through 2025 will reach $20.5 billion, with total shipment exceeding 6.3 million units, according to a recent report by Research and Markets. The compounded annual growth rate of drones for the construction industry will exceed 10 percent over that period, according to the report.
Drone demand is being driven by the prospects for significant efficiency improvements they can bring to the construction industry, which often suffers from cost overruns, delays and waste. Drones enable contractors to quickly survey sites, capture construction progress, calculate stockpile and manage inventory.
Engineers and constructors have been very early adopters of drones on jobsites – but now their uses are multiplying, provided they don’t run afoul of FCC Regs.
Still, it wouldn’t be ConExpo without watching the machines dance: