International Construction Firm Balfour Beatty Considering Drone Workers

International Construction Firm Balfour Beatty Considering Drone Workers (Technology Advice, Nov 8, 2013):

Most people associate drones with military and counter-terrorism programs, but Balfour Beatty CIO Danny Reeves wants to use them for a rather different purpose. Speaking at the Fujitsu Forum, he told Techworld that unmanned aerial vehicles could be used to build walls, and improve project efficiency.Balfour Beatty is a international construction and engineering firm that specializes in large-scale projects and building management. Their revenue for 2012 was approximately $17 billion, with an operating income of just under $500 million, so presumably they have the resources to commission a fleet of construction drones. Reeves also spoke of the potential for drones to monitor sprawling project sites, hopefully reducing communication errors and wasted labor on large sites.

In addition to adding drones to its workforce, Balfour Beatty is exploring the possibility of incorporating “body area networks” into its work-sites. Such networks consist of wearable tech devices that monitor various bodily functions such as heart rate, stress levels, and hydration. For companies, the idea is that such networks could alert management when individual workers stress or fatigue levels make them ineffective on the job, or even a danger to themselves and others.

Reeves is scheduled to travel to Fujitsu’s Japanese headquarters later this month in order to discuss implementing such technology. If his ideas indeed become reality, he might just change the nature of large-scale construction across the globe.

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