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Artificial intelligence

AI and drones are being used to control construction projects

March 15, 2018

Californian company Skycatch is building drones that will use machine learning to map sites, plan work, and even guide autonomous construction vehicles on building sites.

Clear for takeoff: According to New Scientist, over 5,000 Japanese building sites have used Skycatch drones over the past three years to map construction sites. It takes the drones 15 minutes to scan a site and make a map of its terrain—a process that takes a team of humans several days.

A flying foreman: The drones use AI that has been trained on data like labeled aerial YouTube footage depicting different kinds of industrial equipment. That enables them to study footage of a building site as they fly overhead, determine where vehicles are, and suggest how they should be moved.

Removing humans: By combining the data from the drones’ birds-eye view with technology onboard self-driving construction vehicles, Skycatch says, it will eventually gather enough information to independently guide the vehicles. As Skycatch’s head of AI and strategy, Angela Sy, told New Scientist, “the machines will be able to act on their own, rather than just following a set of rules.”

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