Israel Ministry of Construction and Housing Adopts a Drone-Based Technology for Monitoring Construction and Infrastructure Development, which will Significantly Lower Construction Costs
Technology developed by the Israeli company Datumate has won the tender for supervising and controlling progress of infrastructure projects and the construction of thousands of apartments in ‘Buyer’s Price’ (Mechir Le-Mishtaken) projects in Harish. The company is a partner in the ConTech Construction Innovation Program operated by the Ministry of Construction and Housing and the Bonei Haaretz Builders Association.
Approximately two years after founding ConTech – a program aimed at advancing and supporting the development of technologies for the construction industry – in conjunction with the Bonei Haaretz Builders Association and the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry, the Ministry of Construction and Housing is now taking the next step towards establishing these technologies as a standard in the Israeli construction industry. Datumate, one in a long list of startups currently being accompanied by the ConTech team, has won a Ministry of Construction and Housing tender to monitor construction performance in the ‘Buyer’s Price’ (“Mechir Le-Mishtaken”) projects in Harish, where thousands of new residential units are being built in the new city.
The Minister of Construction and Housing, Yoav Galant said: “The State of Israel is a recognized leader in technology leader and a global source of hi-tech innovation. After decades of development, we are now leading changes in all fields of the construction industry, from new methods and technologies to human capabilities and standardization. During the last three years we have taken dramatic steps to enlist the best Israeli technology with the aim of streamlining, shortening the process, and lowering the costs of construction in Israel. We are continuing to encourage and promote the introduction of further advanced construction technologies for the benefit of the Israeli public.”
The deputy president of the Bonei Haaretz Association, Haim Feiglin added: “The choice of Datumate is yet another indication of the fact that our decision to invest in the development of technologies for the construction industry was the right decision at the right time. We are seeing how technologies that ConTech has been accompanying are now entering the pilot stage in prominent projects in Israel and abroad, and we continue to expand the range of companies and developments we accompany. We are on the way to transforming Israel into the ‘Silicon Valley’ of the construction industry and to enhancing its safety, precision and speed over the coming years.”
Datumate has developed a drone-based management and control platform for infrastructure construction projects that enables precise and daily comparison between actual construction process and the original plans. It also enables entrepreneurs and construction and infrastructure companies to monitor the performance progress of any engineering project in order to streamline construction processes. The company reports that its systems enable a reduction of more than 50% in the cost of conventional construction processes and 3-5% in the project’s total implementation cost. Datumate’s platform uses computer vision technologies, photogrammetry, cloud processing, and automated drone flight capabilities. Using an image processing engine and an analysis layer, the platform creates 2D and 3D models of changes in an existing state of as-built construction vs. design and progress between various selected dates. The system saves all the gathered and processed data as a digital and engineering record that can be subsequently used for managerial, financial, and legal purposes.
Datumate CEO Tal Meirzon: “We view the Ministry of Construction and Housing’s choice of Datumate’s technology as a milestone that will assist us in transforming Datumate’s method into the global method for managing and supervising performance of large-scale infrastructure projects. As government departments, infrastructure companies, and project management and supervision corporations adopt changes in regulation and adopt innovative technologies in the fields of construction, it will lead to significant economization of project management, thanks to analytical and control tools that have, until now, been unavailable or unfeasible. The lateral initiative of the Ministry of Construction and Housing combined with innovative technology may effect changes in regulations and perceptions that will serve to streamline and accelerate construction in Israel.”
The Ministry of Construction and Housing oversees and executes a large number of projects to develop and establish residential neighborhoods, including those that cover extensive areas and involve a large number and variety of engineering operations. The Ministry has chosen to promote the Harish pilot as part of its assessment of the engineering operations that are implemented during such projects. The pilot will explore a variety of tools for oversight, documentation, monitoring and control. The tools are based on the use of drone images taken during a project’s construction, using specially designated software tools that are now available. These tools include aerial photography, various quantitative or comparative analyses, mapping of on-site progress, and image processing and analysis for management of communication with contractors and entrepreneurs operating in the project area, location of anomalies etc. Because of its unique capabilities, Datumate was chosen to lead the project at the Harish construction site in conjunction with the Haifa District of the Ministry of Construction and Housing.
The Ministry of Construction and Housing is currently in the midst of development work in Harish. Apart from preparing an outline plan delineating new areas for the city, the Ministry also hopes to develop innovative construction and tender methods that will give the plans a unique and innovative dimension. One example of this if the program ‘Plan and Build in the City.’ This program allows one winner of the tender to carry out the infrastructure and public buildings works as well as the site’s residential units. Its objective is to expedite the development of the city and enhance the synergy between infrastructures and buildings. A further example of innovation is the neighborhood near the Main Municipal Center in which regional municipal and public services are planned. These services are provided to all residents of the surrounding area and will attract real estate development and initiatives. The Municipal Center and the ‘Plan and Build’ program were chosen as part of the Ministry’s pilot because of their unique nature, to help assess the advantages facilitated by integrating advanced technologies.
As mentioned above, an assessment of new technologies and their implementation in the various construction processes – from planning to execution to completion – is part of the Construction Technologies Innovation Program (ConTech), operated jointly by the Bonei Haaretz Builders Association, the Ministry of Construction and Housing, and the Ministry of Economy and Industry. This program operates in different fields to locate developers, promote technology companies initiating construction projects, provide these entities with professional assistance and open doors for them in government departments and in the construction industry. Each of the program’s three partners make an important contribution in the effort to remove obstacles faced by developers. Startup companies participating in the program receive work space for six months and direct contact with the different construction industries and potential investors from all over the world.