Komatsu America Corp. and Propeller Aero are partnering to boost the efficiency of construction jobsites using drone-powered mapping and analytics software. With drones becoming an increasingly common worksite tool, Komatsu has identified aerial mapping and analytics as a key component of their Smart Construction initiative – a range of integrated hardware and software products designed to offer an end-to-end workflow for each phase of construction.

“A Komatsu Smart Construction jobsite by definition is technology enhanced and production optimized,” said Jason Anetsberger, senior product manager at Komatsu America Corp. “Adding Propeller Aero as one of our key partners gives our North American distributors and customers exceptional capabilities to achieve this standard in the aerial mapping space. Propeller combines simple, yet powerful analysis tools with accurate and fast site visualization.”

Komatsu America spent several years testing various commercial drone mapping and analytics products in North America. In Propeller, Komatsu found a robust product, well-suited to meet the needs of modern construction operations. Propeller balances ease-of-use with survey accuracy and reliability, Komatsu said.

Propeller’s processing machinery crunches thousands of drone images in hours and delivers the results as a cloud-based 3D model right to the user’s desktop or tablet. From there, collaboration and analysis tools let users perform height, volume and slope calculations, and measure change over time to confirm that a project is on track.

“Worksites are starting to see the real business value of accurate, up-to-date drone data,” said John Frost, vice president of business development at Propeller. “We drive that much value through workflows that enable everyone to understand who’s moved what material, how much and where. It’s all about empowering worksites with the information they need to make data-driven decisions to reduce costs, ensure quality, and use resources efficiently. Now more than ever, stakeholders on site, or in the head office miles away, can stay up to date with exactly what’s happening on the ground.”

Propeller’s technology platform supports multiple coordinate systems, including local site calibrations. This allows personnel to capture up-to-date survey data expressed in the specific geospatial coordinates they already use on that jobsite. Local grid support is crucial for ensuring drone-captured maps and models match up with plans and previous surveys.

Now available through Komatsu distributors across the United States, Komatsu Equipment Co., a Komatsu distributor based in Salt Lake City, was among the first to roll out Propeller solutions to Komatsu customers as a result of this partnership. Based on the positive response so far, KEC is confident the construction sector will be quick to adopt this technology.

“Anyone can fly a drone – it’s what you do with the data that makes an impression,” said Chris Faulhaber, smart construction business manager at KEC. “Propeller provides fast, accurate data processing via a web platform that is unparalleled. The platform is easy to use, facilitates healthy collaboration and delivers vital information quickly so everyone can work together better and faster than anticipated.”