Robotics is revolutionizing countless industries, and land surveying is no exception. A growing number of robots are being implemented due to their high return on investment, efficiency and versatility. Surveying robots offer a slew of incredible benefits for site planning, mapping and risk assessment, among other projects.
The rising popularity of robotics in the surveying industry can be attributed to various factors, but there are a few common advantages that many are taking advantage of.
If there is one thing robots are good at, it’s improving efficiency. Automation has been taking off in virtually every industry over recent years, with robotics filling a special niche in the trend. Surveying processes can be highly time-consuming. Some can even take weeks or more to complete, such as site surveys for construction.
Robotics for surveying presents a highly effective solution. An in-depth survey of a construction site can be done in a matter of hours with a robot. Similarly, surveying machines can be preprogrammed to mark lines throughout an entire parking lot autonomously.
Automation is raising the bar for productivity standards in industries worldwide. In fact, it’s expected to increase productivity in developed economies by 40% over the next 15 years, according to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR). IFR’s study also found that these increases led to higher demand, which enabled significant growth for organizations that implemented automation. This indicates that if the surveying industry wants to remain competitive and innovative, robotic surveying equipment needs to join the team.
Surveying robots are great for collecting large quantities of data in a short amount of time. A drone can be equipped with an array of sensors, such as LiDAR or elevation detection. It can then be programmed to fly in a systematic pattern over the site with its sensors constantly scanning. A surveyor can easily move the data the bot collected onto a computer to analyze it when the drone lands. This process increases productivity since assessing surveying data using computer applications is much more efficient and effective than manually inputting data.
Surveying is not a particularly dangerous profession. However, since surveyors are typically among the first people to thoroughly explore sites, they may face unexpected hazards on the job. For example, a site may have a patch of land that could turn into a sinkhole, which could be difficult to detect right away. A drone could safely fly overhead and detect abnormalities before anyone gets hurt. Even a surveying robot that moves along the ground would be safer than sending a human to inspect unstable land.
Additionally, surveyors may be in danger of traffic around urban sites. On average, over 700 construction workers are fatally struck by passing cars every year. Surveying robots can help keep people out of danger on projects near roadways. For example, robots are being used to complete stakeouts from a distance. Surveying robots like this are helping save lives every day by allowing surveyors to work safely while collecting the data they need.
The applications of robotics in surveying cover a wide range of projects and tasks. The versatility of surveying robots makes them valuable team members. The initial investment in one machine could open up the door for automating multiple tasks and projects. Additionally, after that initial investment, the only costs robots incur are the price of electricity to charge them and occasional maintenance expenses. These pale in comparison to expensive hourly rates for surveying teams to assess sites for days or weeks at a time.
The use of robotics in construction has seen a significant increase over recent years. This is due to several factors, but efficiency for time-consuming projects is a key motivator. Site surveying in the construction industry is one such lengthy process. It can hold up work on projects for days while surveyors meticulously go over the entire area.
Drones have become highly popular for this particular job over the last several years. Technological advancements have made great strides in bringing them to more people. Today, drones are highly affordable and offer construction companies a wealth of benefits.
When drones are used for site surveying, they are typically equipped with a high-definition camera along with a selection of sensors. This customization allows one drone to fit various needs for the same team. One drone can be used to get aerial footage of earthworks around a construction site and detailed progress photos for stakeholders.. They can even be programmed to autonomously survey the area, freeing human surveyors to analyze data and work on more complex projects. Surveyors can also complete more scans and collect more information since the robotic surveyor can work so quickly.
Robots are increasingly being utilized for stakeouts and line marking because of their efficiency, accuracy and precision. Surveying robotics has come a long way over the last several years. Today’s sensor technology enables robots to be highly precise over an extended period. While a human road marker may make mistakes, a robot will not. Surveying robots can consistently and accurately mark everything from road stripes to parking lots.
Assigning a robot to perform this task allows human team members to work on more important jobs. In fact, some surveying robots can even autonomously mark lines over a preprogrammed path. The best part is, the machines performing these jobs are relatively small, about the size of a labrador retriever, so they can easily be moved around on-site.
One of the key benefits of implementing robotics in the surveying industry is increasing safety. It’s no wonder that risk analysis is a popular application for these robots since assessing potential ground-related risks around a construction or work site is a vital part of the building process. Construction can be a dangerous industry, so it is crucial to catch as many hazards as possible before work begins. Surveyors don’t need to put themselves in danger to get that data anymore, thanks to robots.
Drones and robots have been used to perform work in hazardous conditions for years. While some may say they are taking human jobs, the reality is that robots are saving lives. Surveying may not be a high-risk industry, but robots are still doing their part by helping with risk analysis around work sites. Surveyors can remotely operate them to collect initial data before venturing into the area themselves. This doesn’t even delay the survey process much, thanks to robotics's sheer speed and efficiency.
Robotics is revolutionizing the surveying industry while also saving time, increasing productivity and keeping workers safe. Innovations in sensors, drones and robotics are making this technology more accessible, increasing growth further. As robotic surveying equipment raises the bar for industrywide standards of productivity, efficiency and quality, robots will only become more popular. In the years to come, surveyors worldwide will be able to work safer and smarter with their robot teammates.