The next generation of drones will change urban planning and developments

Drone technology is leading more opportunities in urban planning.

During these challenging times coping with COVID-19, technology innovation are now having the opportunity to implement innovations that could benefit the planning and construction industry. At the moment, drones are used for goods transportation and surveying. The benefits of the drones can be used to save on costs and improve the quality of the urban landscape and the built environments.

The arise of global pandemic has increase the number of startups to begin to capitalise and innovate through the use of drone technology. This article will explore how drones (UAVs) will affect urban planning and on a broader scale across neighbourhoods.

UAVs elevates urban design and data collecting

The urban development and urbanisation are increasing in speed. The greatest challenges that the planners are facing nowadays is using the traditional methods and techniques to collect on-site information and data. And as climate change and sustainability gradually empower cities to make decisions with limited resources, the need for data-driven decision-making will become more essential. This is where drone technology transforms into a potential asset for the planning and design industry.

Cities are now facing unprecedented changes due to the circumstances of rapid urbanisation and climate change, cities are facing detrimental problems of congestion, air pollution and water crisis. To reduce the impacts of climate change, planners and engineers are utilising drones to retrieve data in remote areas and improve the effectiveness of traditional planning methods.

3D output map from LiDAR LIDAR image credit: USGS (2018a): Kilauea Volcano, HI June 2018

Additionally, high resolution cameras attached to drones can now be used to create aerial surveys and basemaps on complex areas of urban and rural terrain. The developments of 3D space scanners (e.g. LiDAR with orthomosaic RGB) and detailed satellite imagery will have significant impact to process physical measurements and sensory data like the altitude of certain locations and ground control for any potential development site. Using drone technology, planners can create accurate designs for realistic presentation and better-informed decision making for developments.

Supporting urban developments

With the rise of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), it is also inevitable that 3D cameras fitted to drones will generate realistic visualisations of potential urban developments and effective public engagement tools.

On the other hand, the technology of VR can also allow accurate models to be built for people and public transportations. The models can integrate with BIM softwares to examine the existing social and environmental conditions of sites. The visualisation of data and more accurate measurements using drones technology will eventually re-shape the way how our cities are built. Essentially, the drone technology has produced better informed decisions for planners and surveyors to benefit the urban built environments, ensuring a more sustainable community to adapt to the future.

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