Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence

Often synonymous with Hollywood blockbuster movies

and technological developments of a distant future, drones have shaken off stereotypical thoughts that they only belong on the big screen.

 These eyes in the sky are fast emerging as tools that are transforming the delivery of services to Gauteng residents.

Recently, drone technology became a very real part of the lives of the province’s citizens,

through a partnership formed between the provincial Department of Infrastructure Development (DID) and the University of Johannesburg.

The partnership has resulted in the construction of critical infrastructure such as schools, clinics, hospitals and libraries being monitored by the use of a drone.

Leveraging the use of technology Head of Department at the DID, Bethuel Netshiswinzhe,

believes that through the use of drones, government is leveraging the use of technology,

especially that related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, to deliver infrastructure in a smart and efficient manner.

The built environment is still largely a traditional industry,

which one might still be forgiven for associating with the Stone Age era of the Flintstones.

Just ask Gauteng MEC for Infrastructure Development Jacob Mamabolo.

“Although it dates back to the days before the building of the Egyptian pyramids,

it still remains as one of the most Dark Age methods and has not yet come to where the world is today,” he said.

So what do drones and construction sites have to do with each another? In May, it was announced that the DID was deploying the drone programme as a tool to monitor progress at construction sites. T

his essentially limited the single drone to giving the department a snapshot of the site which enabled officials to verify independently whether work is continuing,

that material is on site and that the contractor adheres to occupational health and safety standards on site.

While still in its youth, the partnership between the DID and UJ has been refined in recent months,

with the department realising that there is an opportunity to harvest more data than the hundreds of high images captured by drones.

Virtual tours Commonly known as drones, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) boast top-class technologies with simple flight controls.

Through the partnership, officials can now take a virtual tour through the construction site without having to leave the comfort of their offices.

“I can be sitting in the office and walk through the construction site, without me needing to be there and see the milestones reached on site

and without having to drive there,” remarked a clearly chuffed MEC Mamabolo.

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