Drone LIDAR

MDOT Using Drone LiDAR Technology For Road Construction


The Mississippi Department of Transportation is using drone LiDAR technology in a number of ways to help pave the way for safer travel across the state of Mississippi.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) is using Drone LiDAR to improve efficiency and safety in the construction and maintenance of road projects around the state. Watch this informative video that shows how they’re using the mdLiDAR1000HR from Microdrones to expedite work that would normally take months in a matter of weeks.

Video by MDOT

Drone LiDAR

LiDAR is a method for determining ranges or distances by targeting an object with a laser and measuring the time for the reflected light to return to the receiver. The reflected light data is then converted into distance measurements creating a 3-D model of what was measured.

Recently MDOT purchased the mdLiDAR1000HR to add to their fleet of vehicles that use the LiDAR to take measurements and map out road construction projects. Mississippi is now one of the first states in the southeast with this type of drone technology being put to use for state transportation work.

Ross Kenney, the NEI UAS Sales and Support Lead, assisted MDOT with acquiring the drone surveying equipment. “The Mississippi Department of Transportation is the first DOT in the Southeastern United States to now equip their crews with aerial LiDAR,” said Kenney. “They’re going to see a huge productivity improvement.”


We were actually able to complete that project in 2 days compared to what it took conventionally, which was 12 weeks.

Ross Kenney, NEI UAS Sales and Support Lead

Increasing Efficienicies

The LiDAR drones will allow MDOT workers to perform tasks in the field much faster than using traditional measuring tools. The technology will also increase safety for MDOT workers, greatly reducing the time they spend working in or near moving traffic.

Evan Wright, from the planning division at MDOT, explains how the drone LiDAR technology is being used. “We use it to take measurements on the roadway, so a lot of the data we have to report to the Federal Highway involves things like lane widths, shoulder widths, and things such as that. Before, when were measuring that, we’d actually have to get out in the field, either using a tape measure or a distance wheel, and physically be in the road.”

The information collected by the LiDAR is then transferred to computers in the planning division, where engineers can work on road projects without having to spend long hours in the field taking measurements. Accessing projects in a virtual point cloud also has other benefits.  Data collected by LiDAR simulates a 3D environment and is extremely accurate, which allows engineers to take extra measurements without ever leaving their desks.

Kenney explains how the benefits from drone LiDAR are already making a huge impact on MDOT’s goals for safety and efficiency. “We were flying a road project- about 8,500 feet of road, with 400 feet on either side of the center line. We were actually able to complete that project in 2 days compared to what it took conventionally, which was 12 weeks.”

Engineers are using new LiDAR technology to expedite work that would normally take months in a matter of weeks. Drones equipped with LiDAR also played a significant role in the recent construction of the State Route 26 slide repair in Greene County. That project included the complete reconstruction of the road bed and 300 feet of highway and was completed in 5 weeks.

MDOT’s drone LiDAR technology is being used in a number of ways to help pave the way for safer travel across the state of Mississippi. If you would like more information on how to start using drone LiDAR surveying equipment from Microdrones, talk to one of our helpful representatives today.