First, let’s understand what autonomous reality capture is and what it can do for a construction firm, it’s employees and customers. In the simplest terms, reality capture uses laser scanners to quickly and accurately capture a physical space and replicate it in a 3D virtual environment.
From an article in For Construction Pros by Andy Fontana.
On construction jobsites, reality capture is used to build 3D models of a space or structure. This reduces unnecessary return trips to remeasure a space, and supports greater collaboration and efficiencies among teams on a jobsite and those in the office. At a time where remote work is on the rise, reality capture is especially useful for monitoring the progress of a project, comparing as-built models with design-intent models, and addressing any potential issues before additional resources are spent on the actual build.
More recently, advances in autonomous reality capture made it possible to scan hard to reach areas using robotics and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). For example, capturing the top of a skyscraper, conducting an underground excavation and exploring areas impacted by natural disasters are ideal environments for autonomous reality capture because they don’t require workers to physically enter the spaces. But who is actually using this technology?
Historically, reality capture was primarily used by larger construction firms. This changed as more devices came on the market, offering a wider array of options in terms of size, functionality, price, autonomy, and how easy they are to master. Also, when the reliance on third party scanning specialists was not as necessary, reality capture devices became more common on jobsites managed by small to medium sized construction firms.
While there are many uses for reality capture technology on a jobsite, some general contractors may not see an immediate and/or high return on their investment. This often happens when the wrong tool is used for the job. The biggest variables in pricing for reality capture products are based on accuracy, scanning distance, speed, and quality of output. Yet not every job requires the highest accuracy and highest quality output. Depending on the needs of the client, a lower cost reality capture product will suffice. On the other hand, sacrificing long term gains for short-term cost savings is not a wise investment either. This is why general contractors and project managers look across their project management dashboard and consider the five factors below before buying a reality capture product.
Five Factors to Measure the ROI of Reality Capture
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