Listening to the market I fully understand and appreciate why contractors would use new technology (like drones) in hazardous environments. My fear is, in the long run, will this drive down the need for skilled engineers onsite? I suppose in countering this they would quickly argue that it may control salary expectations of hard to fill roles.
In January I held a meeting with a CEO of a large plant and construction firm. Intriguing to hear his views on the market since starting in the sector in the mid 1970's. His plant, and some skilled workforce, was used in preparing the Jaguar Engine Center off the M54 near Wolverhampton. Interestingly he pointed out that the majority of the groundworks they were contracted on was completed remotely using robot controlled diggers etc. Staggering to think when you see the size of it. 700 people are employed there.
Costain is negotiating with operators of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to create a framework of approved suppliers that can meet its needs. Costain has used UAVs, more commonly known as drones, on several projects, to survey large areas or parts of structures that are hard to access. However, it has decided against investing in the technology directly, preferring to outsource, because of the speed at which the technology is still developing. “We have been developing an understanding of how and where the technology can deliver projects more efficiently and safely,” said Peter Slater, Costain’s aerial solutions manager. “One of the main drivers of the work comes down to taking people out of hazardous environments,” said Peter. “In addition, improvements in speed, efficiency and payload make this a technology with high potential.”