Drones are a type of unmanned aerial vehicles. They are either controlled by a 'pilot' on the ground through a remote control or they can be programmed to follow a predetermined mission path.
There are basically two types of drones. One type is used to conduct surveillance and reconnaissance. The other type is armed with missiles and bombs and are used by the armed forces. People are slowly realizing that drones can be used for other tasks too.
Construction deploys drones to keep track of work
Recently, construction managers at the new Kings stadium in Sacramento, California have begun using drones to track down issues that can potentially affect the pace of work.
The drones fly around the construction site once a day, creating a 3-D picture of construction progress and status. The image is later compared with architectural plans, helping the managers detect where work is lagging behind, and allowing them to make adjustments.
One of the common concerns with the use of drones generally is privacy. People typically don’t like being watched. A spokesperson for the stadium contractor, however, says the use of drones to monitor work at the site has not given rise to any privacy concerns so far because they don't fly close to the workers.
Rather, the drones complement the work the construction managers who would performed the same function by walking around the sight and making observations. The major difference now is, the drones do it faster, more accurately, and more comprehensively.
Other Instances of Drone Use
According to MIT Technology Review, many construction and agricultural companies have started using drones to gather information on work sites. The police have also deployed drones to detect and control crime. In North Dakota, police use drones armed with tear gas, tasers, rubber bullets and other non-lethal weapons to control crime.
At the same time, there is significant opposition to the use of drones to monitor people. There are also fears that unscrupulous people might take advantage of the remote operation capability of drones to enter private property unnoticed and record sounds and images to stream live, creating a significant threat for privacy.
The situation is worsened by the fact that privacy laws in the US are quite complex and outdated. There are also significant variations in the laws of different states.
Turner Construction denies its drones might inadvertently spy on worker productivity but that does not mean it would never be done. Drones that can track how much time each worker spends on a job are already being developed and will certainly be used by some employers.
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