Autodesk CEO Emeritus, Carl Bass, and I have the same birthday: May 18. So I was invited to Carl's 60th birthday party where I met Chris Anderson. Though he has the same name, Chris is not the TED guy. Chris was the Wired guy and is the co-founder of 3DR. Chris did tell me that he and the other Chris Anderson have a gentleman's agreement where each has pledged not to do anything to hurt "the brand," because the name confusion comes up so often that if one does, both will be tarred and feathered because of it.
"In 2007, Chris Anderson — New York Times best-selling author and at the time the editor-in-chief of Wired magazine — built his first drone at home with his kids using parts from a Lego Mind Machine. He got chills: when a dad and his kids can create military-grade technology on the kitchen table, something fundamental about the world has changed. But what? The kids quickly tired of the experiments, but Chris went down the rabbit hole [and eventually founded 3DR] with Jordi Muñoz. The name, 3DR, alludes to the third axis, up, where consumer robots hadn't yet traveled." [3DR.com]
In March 2016, 3DR launched Site Scan, an intuitive, powerful, and open drone data platform built for the AEC industry. They partnered with companies such as Sony and Autodesk to provide easy to perform, high-resolution reality capture via their company-made drone and software. Their aim is to democratize aerial data collection, enabling construction and engineering professionals to easily capture their jobsites and create high-resolution orthomosaic, 3D models, and more. Site Scan is a complete solution, including the Site Scan drone with a Sony R10C camera, an intuitive mobile application for flying the drone autonomously, and a web application for processing, managing, and sharing the data.
For 3DR, Autodesk Forge helps them connect the dots between Autodesk products and the solutions they provide.
So how can 3DR customers take advantage of Site Scan? Here are 3 examples:
Arcadis, a global engineering consultancy, is a joint customer between 3DR and Autodesk. Their Qatar office uses the Site Scan platform as a surveying tool to perform topographic surveys and get volume calculations exponentially faster. They are rapidly building in Qatar to prepare for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and also to meet the ambitious construction goals of Qatar's 2030 National Vision. Arcadis surveyed and got volume calculations of part of the 46km Orbital Highway, a key new infrastructure development in Doha. The Orbital is a 14-lane highway with 5 vehicle lanes and 2 dedicated truck lanes going in each direction. Construction will be finished in 2018.
Site Scan has proven to be a transformative technology for Arcadis and their workflows. They were able to survey 10x faster with Site Scan compared to traditional methods, and collect significantly more data than ever before. For example, in one 3-acre area, the traditional survey took 3 hours. With Site Scan, it took just 20 minutes. Just as importantly, the traditional survey captured 197 survey points, while Site Scan captured 1,539,964 survey points, creating a topographic survey with far more detail. The speed and detail of Site Scan helped them deliver their volume calculations much faster than usual, and at a much higher quality. This was of tremendous value to their client and helped keep the Orbital Highway project on schedule.
Drones aren't only being used for pre-construction topographic surveys. They're being put to work throughout the lifecycle of construction projects, including capturing a full as-built of a finished building in the form of a rich 3D model. The traditional process of performing an as-built survey of a high-rise building — in a busy city center nonetheless — is time-consuming, risky, and expensive. Drones have proven to be an effective tool for performing fast, cost-effective, safe as-builts.
For example: Ninox is a Malaysian company that uses drones and other advancements in robotics to perform aerial surveys for real estate developers, construction firms, and more. They captured an as-built of the Menara Tower, a 40-story building in Kuala Lumpur, to document the building to plan for future renovations. The client was Selangor Properties Berhad, an established property developer in Kuala Lumpur. They used 3DR Site Scan's "perimeter scan" feature, which is perfect for capturing vertical structures and facades to create rich, detailed models. With Site Scan, Ninox could perform this complex survey in a matter of hours. They have made their as-built workflow 5x faster with Site Scan, and have completed laser scans of the inside of the building and combined them with the drone data, creating a VR experience of the entire structure.
image source: BritishMuseum.org
Modern day Tello, in southern Iraq, known in ancient times as Girsu, contains the ruins of what is one of the oldest bridges in the world. It was captured by in 3D using Site Scan by Ivan Erhel, a French documentarian, to digitize and preserve historic sites in southern Iraq before they are possibly affected by ISIS. Erhel captured a complete point cloud, mesh, and orthomosaic, getting complete, up-to-date documentation of the site.
Are you interested in learning more about 3DR and Forge? You can talk to the 3DR Team at Forge DevCon/Autodesk University in Las Vegas this week. See you there.