The thinking: Spend billions of dollars, save even more.
The $8.5 trillion global construction industry isn’t exactly known for its efficiency. The U.K. Green Building Council estimates that 15% of materials delivered to construction sites end up in landfills, the result of mismanaged scheduling and purchasing.
The American Institute of Architects believes building-related waste makes up anywhere from 25% to 40% of America’s solid-waste stream. With construction spending in the U.S. totaling $1.13 trillion this year, those losses add up to more than $160 billion in waste—and that’s just in America.
With that kind of scale, small gains in efficiency can translate to billions in savings for the construction industry, says Tristan Randall, strategic projects executive at Autodesk. The San Rafael, Calif., company’s AutoCAD design software is used by designers the world over to model everything from office furniture to buildings to aircraft components. It also happens to be one of the world’s largest makers of building information modeling (BIM) software, used by designers, engineers, and architects to digitally model the physical objects they seek to create.
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Autodesk doesn’t make hardware; that’s the domain of its customers. But as construction companies increasingly turn to unmanned aerial vehicles—drones—to reclaim some of those wasted billions, the software maker finds itself on the front lines of a hardware revolution. “Our vision is basically a drone on every construction site,” Randall says. “And we think that’s a feasible vision.”
He isn’t the only one who thinks so. The construction industry has emerged as a key driver of the nascent commercial drone industry, which some analysts believe will top $5 billion by 2020. PwC estimates the current value of labor and services likely for replacement by drones to be $127.3 billion. More than one-third of that comes from the infrastructure and construction industries.
Image credit & Article via: Fortune