Each day, 30-year-old construction worker Ryan Moret loads up the same equipment before heading to a new work site: A hard hat for head protection, a safety vest for visibility, and heavy-duty boots to walk around the debris.
The field manager for McCarthy Building Companies also adds one more unusual accessory: A DJI Phantom 4. The white quadcopter, with a mounted camera, is used to take aerial shots of the construction site.
Moret is part of a new generation of construction workers that rely on drones as hypermobile tools: Eyes in the sky that gaze upon any part of the work site. Once the realm of racers and hobbyists, drones are also putting their stamp on the construction sector.
In fact, construction drone usage has skyrocketed by 239 percent year over year, compared to 198 percent in mining and 172 percent in agriculture, according to a May report on commercial drone trends by DroneDeploy, which provides mapping solutions for drone users.
“The cost of the tool is low enough the quality of data we’re receiving is just intrinsically valuable when we see it,” said Moret, who was his company’s first licensed drone pilot. McCarthy Building Companies, on Forbes’ list of America’s Largest Private Companies, has $3.5 billion in revenue.
Moret’s first drone assignment, surveying the Children’s Health hospital in Plano, Texas, came almost immediately after he got his license.
“You’re a little nervous because you don’t know what to expect,” he said.