Drone technology can turn the fortunes of the construction sector around, Gauteng Infrastructure Development MEC Jacob Mamabolo said.
Updating media on progress made since the launch of the programme in May, Mamabolo is reported by government news agency SAnews as saying drone technology can address challenges including cost and quality issues.
Since the initial launch, the provincial Department of Infrastructure Development (DID) acquired an additional four drones bringing its fleet to five.
“We have a drone per region because since the launch we have taken the position that drones can make infrastructure delivery efficient and effective,” said Mamabolo.
Head of Department Bethuel Netshiswinzhe said the sector has historically been rigid and averse to change.
Through drone technology, DID is able to monitor building projects including new schools, clinics, libraries and hospitals among others.
“Through the work we are doing, we are trying to build a department that can sustain service delivery,” said Mamabolo, adding government can be efficient.
He stressed by improving the work of the department the quality of life for residents will also improve.
“We still don’t have effective efficient ways of delivering infrastructure.”
The drone programme is a partnership between the DID and the University of Johannesburg. This saw the department sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the university in July to accelerate delivery of public infrastructure using smart technologies.
Addressing media at the Emoyeni Conference Centre in Johannesburg, Mamabolo said the objective of the partnership was to build an infrastructure delivery analytics capability using drone data to monitor progress against plans, monitor use of materials on site as well as project management and safety controls.
Capabilities of the drones include 3D technology where the DID can monitor and verify site activity without being on site through high quality transmission technology that allows high definition video streaming.
“Capabilities include a 3D model. We will be making it official policy where everybody that works with DID will have to join in leveraging smart technologies. 3D embedded technologies give the opportunity to check and verify site activity,” he said.
Through the technology, the department can check whether construction on site is in accordance with architectural designs.
The drone technology ensures “every cent is accounted for” contributing to the fight against corruption.
“Once we bring in transparency and openness onto construction sites, we are able to see what exactly is going on.”
Mamabolo said government is of the view infrastructure can turn around Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rates while creating much-needed work.
“We must build capacity of the state, we will demonstrate. We are going to make it a policy that everyone who works with us will need to deliver all drawings to us in 3D models so we can track cost, quality and time beyond dispute.”