As if we needed any more confirmation that construction is one of the main places where the drone industry is headed, drone juggernaut DJI recently announced that they’ll be shipping 1,000 drones to Japanese-based construction giant Komatsu.
This is their single biggest shipment of drones to date.
U.S.-based drone data company Skycatch is partnering with DJI to fill the order. The drones that will be delivered are all the same model—the Skycatch Explore1—and they’ll all come with Skycatch’s machine vision software.
The Skycatch Explore1 is based on DJI’s customizable Matrice 100 enterprise drone platform, and can be purchased with Skycatch’s High Precision Package, which includes the Explore1 drone and the Edge1 RTK base station.
The Explore1 can conduct autonomous flights over construction and other job sites, and the data it gathers can be used to create precise 3D site maps and models.
The Skycatch Explore1 drone autonomously flies over job sites to create highly accurate 3D site maps and models and will be deployed on Komatsu job sites. This map data will be used for Komatsu new data service, which enables robotic earth moving equipment, used in the earthwork stage of the construction process, to correctly dig, bulldoze, and grade land autonomously according to digital construction plans.
How futuristic is that?
Together, these technologies enable firms to create highly accurate maps and point clouds, discover costly job site mistakes, and predict schedule delays, saving up to tens of thousands of dollars per week.
Komatsu has been part of a big innovation push in Japanese construction, and plans to use the data captured by the drones to enable robotic earth moving equipment, which is used in the earthwork stage of the construction process to correctly dig, bulldoze, and grade land autonomously according to digital construction plans.
Skycatch’s drones have already been used in more than 10,000 construction jobs in Japan, and about the same number of sites elsewhere in the world. Their drones have done huge surveys at places like Facebook’s data center sites, and reportedly for Apple’s new campus in Cupertino, CA.
Although Skycatch has its own set of machine learning algorithms that can recognize basic materials on a construction site as well as people and vehicles, customers like Komatsu can supply their own data to train new algorithms.
Being the first company to integrate into DJI’s manufacturing process will deliver incredible value to our customers worldwide.
– Christian Sanz, Skycatch CEO
As drone adoption grows in industrial use cases, we’re sure to see more and more large deals like this emerge.