The Use of Drone Technology in Architecture, Engineering, and Construction

The architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industries are greatly benefitting from the use of drones. Drones save building projects both time and money. With their ability to collect real-time data at a job site, drones increase workflow and efficiency.  


Drones are changing the way buildings are designed. One useful benefit of the use of drones in architecture is their application in surveying. A drone’s small size and easy maneuverability make it the ideal tool for accessing difficult to reach places. The aerial photography that drones provide makes it possible for an architect and a client to visualize how a finished product will look. Aerial footage allows an architect to design accurate plans. 

Drones are efficient, and they can accomplish mapping projects in a fraction of the time a project would typically take. The mapping is much more accurate as well, which eliminates costly mistakes and revisions. The data that the drone collects can eliminate the need to hire land surveyors for topographic surveys.  


The field of civil engineering is benefitting from the use of drones. Commercial drones simplify the process of planning, monitoring, and surveying construction projects. Examples of the ways drones are aiding civil engineering include: 

  • Project planning. Drone-based mapping is faster, cheaper, and more accurate than traditional mapping methods.  
  • Project surveillance. A drone can inspect and monitor the progress of a construction project without being physically present.  
  • Models. A drone can indicate how closely a finished project resembles the initial design. 3D scanning technology can produce a 3D replication of a completed project.
  • Thermal imaging. With a thermal camera on board, a drone can identify heat leakages and damaged wires even through heavy insulation. Imaging allows engineers to identify and repair problems in a timely fashion. 
  • Infrastructure inspections. A drone eliminates the need for work crews to jeopardize their safety doing inspections by going places that are difficult to reach. 


Drones are changing the construction industry by removing the need for manual labor. The speed at which drones work allows contractors to make ambitious bids and complete projects on time. Drones can secure a construction site for the safety of employees and the prevention of theft and vandalism at construction sites. A drone can be anywhere at any time. Drones can transport goods to areas traditional vehicles can’t reach, saving construction crews time and money.  

There are obstacles to overcome when using a drone for AEC projects, including overcoming government regulations of these aircraft. There are also restrictions on flying a drone near an airport or stadium, which might cause a problem if a project is near these structures. The processing speed of information from a drone may be slow. Despite these concerns, drone technology continues to advance, and its impact on the industry will continue to be substantial. 

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