Construction Startup Katerra: Using Drones to Innovate an Old Industry

Ray Pascua has been in the drone industry for over a decade.  He’s been an award winning cinematographer and done some amazing videography in his career – and now he’s taking that drone expertise to ground level, working with one of the most innovative construction companies in the world.  As UAV Specialist at Katerra, Pascua is partnered with Travis Rauscher, Construction Technology Manager, an expert in construction technology with a deep understanding of what it takes to complete a project.  Together, the team is using drone mapping to disrupt a traditional industry.

The company provides a full suite of construction services – from architecture to renovations for commercial properties – and manages the process in such a way that they can deliver “better, faster, and cheaper” products for their clients.  It’s a model that has caught fire in the industry.  Katerra is rolling out a project a week right now, and the volume is increasing all the time.

That level of growth makes every efficiency critical.  “We need to be able to deliver every week,” says Rauscher. “We need to be able to scale to this kind of growth.  We’re in an environment of constant change, constant improvement.”

Many of their building elements are pre-built in the warehouse environment, and an accurate understanding of building sites is of paramount importance.  That’s where Pascua, and a partnership with drone mapping platform DroneDeploy, come in to the process.  Since Katerra launched a drone program in February of 2018,  the company has been rapidly deploying drones and figuring out how to optimize their aerial advantage.  Pascua has had to develop standard operating procedures, safety routines, reporting – and most importantly, he and Rauscher have had to figure out how to make the data available and useful throughout a fast-growing organization.

“Scalability and automation are key,” says Rauscher.  The company is rapidly adding and training drone pilots, and honing their process for data collection, efficient processing, and distribution.   By leveraging drone technology to get more and better data for their team, and leveraging drone platform DroneDeploy to get more analysis from every flight, Katerra is poised to be a new leader in and old industry.

Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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