UK’s first demonstration of ‘drone in a box’

By Catrin Jones06 September 2023

Last month, drone specialist Heliguy and Smart Construction partnered to showcase the DJI Dock, a weather-proof station that can be permanently located on a construction site and allow drones to launch on-demand, conduct a predefined mission, and return to the box for automatic charging.

DJI Dock Drone demonstration (Photo: heliguyTM)

The event was held at Smart Construction’s excavator testing and training area in Birtley, UK, providing attendees with an opportunity to see the Dock up close, learn about its technical capabilities, maintenance, and installation.

Manufactured by DJI, the DJI Dock features the DJI M30 Series drone, which can fly for up to 40 minutes, conduct missions up to 7km from the Dock, and has an IP55 weather resistance. 

Richard Clement, Deputy General Manager for Smart Construction, highlighted the potential of the technology for the construction sector, offering automated, remote, round-the-clock data collection to map the lifecycle of a construction project, improve jobsite efficiencies, reduce operational costs, and increase safety.

The Dock Drone in a Box can be utilised for progress monitoring, inspections, site security and perimeter patrol, and tracking earth movements, providing real-time insights and streamlining communication.

Fast-charging functionality powers the drone from 10%-90% in 25 minutes for minimal downtime.

Clement added, “Smart Construction is about the digital transformation of earth movement: Creating a digital twin of a jobsite to help visualise and analyse what’s going on, including what material has been moved and if targets are being achieved.

“Drones are the best way to map 100% of a jobsite, capturing the data very quickly and very simply, and providing a detailed and up-to-date view of everything that is happening on site. This enables project managers to conduct data-driven forecasting and planning to accurately track inventories to optimise workflows and stay on schedule and under budget.”

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