The use of drones on construction sites is increasing, as are the applications for the technology, which range from measuring the movement of materials on-site to tracking the status of the entire project. However, drone data is only as powerful as the software that processes it. Moreover, drones can only capture a building’s exterior.

SwissCognitiveIt’s for these reasons and more that Palo Alto-based startup Doxel launched an artificial intelligence (AI) platform that uses HD photos and LIDAR scans to analyze important data from a construction project—both inside and out. To push the company out of the gate, Andreessen Horowitz—with participation from Alchemist Accelerator, Pear Ventures, SV Angel and Steelhead Ventures—led a $4.5 million investment round in Doxel. To learn more, we spoke to Doxel CEO Saurabh Ladha.

Drones and Rovers on Construction Sites, Oh My

“Doxel is basically an AI software solution to increase productivity in construction. Using autonomous robots and AI, we monitor every inch of a project, inspecting quality and measuring progress in real time,” Ladha explained. “So, project managers can react in minutes, and not in months.”

What this process entails is sending a drone over a construction site and/or sending a rover inside of a construction site after the workday is complete to capture photos and 3D scans of the entire project. The data is then processed with the startup’s AI.

Using Doxel’s deep learning technology, the AI is able to perform a number of analyses automatically, specifically for quality, budget and scheduling. By comparing the scans and images to the building information modeling (BIM) of the project, the AI is able to detect discrepancies between how something was actually installed and how it was meant to be installed.

The software also cross-references installed quantities against the numerous line items in a project’s budget, providing real-time insight into how much has been spent for a day’s work. The quantities are also cross-referenced against schedules, so that superintendents and project executives know where the project stands in relation to each day’s planned activities.

A project manager can rely on the information that Doxel provides at the end of the workday, and then use that information to inform the next day’s activities. If an item has been installed incorrectly, that project team can address the issue before too much time elapses. […]

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