Singapore analytics and acoustic solutions company H3 Zoom.AI’s founder, Shaun Koo, began using drones for building inspection and facilities management after realizing that the city’s highly urban landscape was “overdue for digital technology disruption.” For example, traditional building facade inspection involves workers tethered to ropes or on gondola lifts, scaling high and/or remote areas to inspect or take photographs. This manual process is risky and allows room for human error.

Instead, Koo suggested equipping drones with cameras and flying them around buildings to scan and capture images of building facades from multiple angles. The images could be fed into an AI and machine-learning platform designed to flag problem areas, thus making the inspection process safer, faster and more accurate. Koo demonstrated that his drone inspection system and AI technology could reduce the inspection time by 70 percent. For example, in one demo, the use of the drones lessened the inspection time from 4 weeks to 4 days. H3 Zoom.AI aims to partner with government agencies like the Housing & Development Board and Singapore Land Authority to spread the use of drones for building inspections throughout the city. As of last month, H3 Zoom.AI had used drones to inspect over 200 buildings in Singapore, and the company aims to expand into Indonesia, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan. The key to this drone system is the AI; this technology uses predictive thinking to inform its clients about structural faults that COULD happen to their buildings in the future, in addition to the current structural issues. This is a key to safety and cost reduction for big cities like Singapore.

As we continue to integrate drones into the U.S. national airspace, perhaps companies and cities will use drones equipped with AI technology like H3 Zoom.AI’s to bring this same efficiency and safety to building inspections and management here as well.

This post was authored by Kathryn Rattigan is also being shared on our Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Insider blog. If you’re interested in getting updates on developments affecting data privacy and security, we invite you to subscribe to the blog.