Sorry, Terminator conspiracists: AI-equipped drones can now think for themselves

Object recognition using deep learning on construction sites

The construction and construction aggregates industries are using drones for a number of tasks, from mapping out sites and comparing with architectural blueprints to record progress to keeping inventories of multimillion-dollar construction vehicles and building material supplies.

Keeping up to date with activity across sprawling, complex construction sites is particularly challenging because there are so many moving parts and so many people using equipment for different task. A report by the National Research Council of the National Academies argues that construction lags behind other industries such as manufacturing in terms of productivity and blames the situation on problems with planning, coordination, and communication between on-site teams and those higher up in the chain of command.

Using deep learning AI technology and drones, Silicon Valley-based commercial drone company Kespry is using NVIDIA Jetson TX1 AI technology to offer construction companies a way to keep track of their expensive kit and allow them to remotely manage multiple work sites at any one time.

NVIDIA claims that its credit card sized Jetson TX1 is the first embedded computer designed to process deep neural networks and that it allows the drones to autonomously identify and classify construction vehicles, building materials, and other structures.

While a human element is still important to review inventories and keep track of workers, the new tech will allow site managers to effectively manage a number of sites, in various locations, from the comfort of their computer screens.