Lockheed Martin has some of the best flying credentials in the business, but it isn’t a name you instantly associate with the construction industry.

But now the company has created its Indago unmanned aerial system, it has set its sights on tackling some the challenges of the construction industry. The Indago is a small highly portable quadcopter design with a carrying capacity of 200 grams, offering up to 45-minutes flight time. But while the flying is cool, it’s the data that matters.

“The Indago will fly over an area and take a series of images and stitch them together in a mosaic,” said John Molberg, business development manager at Lockheed Martin Canada. “Most companies are doing that post-processing; we’re doing it in real time.

“We know the air vehicle is really cool, but it’s really about what you can do with it and the information, especially in the construction industry where they talk about margins being tight and timelines being tight.”

Data from the Indago can help provide objective information upon which to base decisions and thus impact critical timelines. The real-time information can be used to identify discrepancies and monitor progress on site.

One of the key advantages from a flying point of view is Lockheed Martin’s expertise in autopilot systems. The Indago uses the company’s Kestrel autopilot system, which helps to keep the drone steady and the camera pointing in the right direction, even in high winds. It’s this kind of capability that sets the Indago apart for drones that might entice hobbyists and marks it out as a professional piece of kit, with clear business applications.

It’s the kind of capability that could soon see the Indago hovering about construction sites all over the UAE.