Professionals have historically employed on-site workforces to execute infrastructure inspection and planning tasks; and in many cases, would charter manned aircraft such as planes and helicopters to provide aerial support. Manned aircraft are often a great solution, but in some cases they are overkill. Not only are these methods inefficient and costly, they come with the added risk of putting humans in harm’s way. However, advancements in drone technology have ushered in new options, allowing for significantly more proficient and cost-effective infrastructure planning and inspection.
The Drone Solution
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones, present an incredible opportunity for developers, as well as city, infrastructure, and transportation planners. From the safety of a command center, operators are able to send drones into hard to reach areas, including rough and dangerous terrain. Data is captured in the form of high resolution images and laser scanning data, georeferenced to specific points on the Earth’s surface. The aerial view affords operators the ability to learn more than what can be discovered from a simple ground reconnaissance, and when equipped with the appropriate sensors, drones are able to collect real-time environmental data such as gas detection, perform surveying duties, and track real-time construction progress. The drone solution expands traditional planning methods, all while saving money and enhancing human safety.
When strategically deployed, drones are able to gather data and intelligence that is both useful and actionable. Construction professionals can use sensors to create 3D models for the planning and building stages. The UAVs can also provide Building Information Modeling (BIM); these digital representations of physical characteristics can optimize the workflows of developers and designers.
Putting drones to work at jobsites pays off in numerous ways. They can be used to capture images of daily work progress, and allow professionals to identify potential issues before they arise. Drones are also proven to be effective at improving construction site safety. PwC’s global report found that using drones to monitor construction sites reduces the threat of accidents by 91 percent. ( http://www.pwc.pl/en/publikacje/2016/clarity-from-above-transport-infrastructure.html )
The U.S. has approximately 600,000 bridges, and each one must be inspected every two years. Researchers at the Florida Institute of Technology discovered that LiDAR data taken from drones can aid in detecting vertical and horizontal displacements of bridge components. ( http://www.roadsbridges.com/nooks-crannies ) Local governments and municipalities are already leveraging drone technology to help in infrastructure inspection. Here are two interesting use cases from Microdrones:
Drones & Surveying Flood Zones http://www.xyht.com/aerialuas/drones-flood-zones/
Inspecting Over The Line with UAV http://www.xyht.com/energyutilities/inspecting-over-the-line-uav/
With technology that assists in planning, optimizes jobsite progress, reduces costs, and improves safety, drones are rapidly becoming indispensable tools for city planners and transportation departments to survey, monitor and inspect infrastructure projects. Click here to learn more about Microdrones solutions for infrastructure planning and inspection.
Interested in making drones a part of your work? Start a conversation with our team of professionals now.