Komatsu America Corp. has partnered with Propeller Aero Inc. in an effort to boost drone data efficiency on construction sites.

Propeller Aero Inc. provides drone mapping and analytics software to help people measure and manage their sites.

With drones becoming a 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.”

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Komatsu America Corp. spent several years testing various commercial drone mapping and analytics products in North America. With Propeller, Komatsu says it found an “exceptionally robust product” that is well-suited to meet the needs of modern construction operations.

Propeller’s processing machinery crunches thousands of drone images in a matter of hours, and delivers the results in a cloud-based 3D model right to the user’s desktop or tablet.

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From there, powerful collaboration and analysis tools let users perform height, volume and slope calculations, as well as measure change over time to confirm 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 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 coordination 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 job site. Local grid support is crucial for ensuring drone-captured maps and models match with plans and previous surveys.

Propeller is now available through a widespread network of Komatsu dealers. Komatsu Equipment Company (KEC), located in Salt Lake City, was among the first to roll out Propeller’s drone solutions to Komatsu customers as a result of this partnership.

“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 Komatsu Equipment Company. “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.”