Henry Ford, a prolific inventor, was awarded 161 U.S. patents in his lifetime. His company set a record high number of patents awarded in a single year in 2016 with 1442 patents in the U.S. and a total of 3200 globally. Ford Motor announced the most recent patent, last week, for the quadcopter design drone that will “pop out” of a car trunk. Just think of the implications and applications for this drone, especially in construction. Many electrical contractors have established an entire division of their company devoted to drone work. ECs are using drones for land surveying, marketing and promotion, monitoring multiple job sites, showing job progress to clients, safety and insurance, monitoring workers, and construction inspection. Drones will soon fly prolonged if not “continuous” duty with new solar-powered capabilities, like those of the Chinese “Meiying” drone.
Watch video of Meiying (Chinese solar-powered drone) 10-hour limited sunlight winter flight:
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The illustration in the Ford patent shows the drone being deployed from a vehicle. Ford designers believe that drone adoption will continue to accelerate. The FAA projects there will be about 4.3 million drones in the U.S. by 2020. Ford had safety in mind first, envisioning the deployment of the drone when a car is broken-down or in a crash. Designers saw it streaming footage or leading first responders to a car in a remote area, or at night by hovering over the disabled vehicle, perhaps shining a spotlight if necessary. They also see the drone becoming a tool on a jobsite as a standard feature of the F-150. ECs service trucks could soon come equipped with drones increasing safety and data collection and analysis on the jobsite.
Additional reading about the Ford drones and applications for the construction industry:
NECA Technology – the Project for Applied and Disruptive Technology, explores the world of technology and keeps members informed of what’s happening today, and of what will be launched in the not-too-distant future. Dr. Joey Shorter has an extensive background in education and experience in translating the work of academics into understandable, practical ideas.