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Flying High On Potential of UAV Technology in Construction and Beyond By Brian Hoover

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ook! Up in the sky! It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s…oh, it’s just another UAV. The FAA has said that the agency expects that as many as 1 million UAVs will be sold this coming holiday season. When you consider the many possible benefits a company can glean from the use of UAVs, it is easy to imagine sales that may soon see that number pale in comparison. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), popularly known as drones, are being looked at and utilized in a variety of industries, including agriculture, real estate, aerial surveying, photography and in the environmental industry. It is also being applied in the energy sector for inspections of pipelines, flare stacks, windmills and solar panels. The mining industry is adopting the technology to detect landslides and for mineral extraction accounting purposes. The film and television industry have used UAVs in films such as Skyfall (a recent James Bond film) and several of the Harry Potter movies, realizing a huge savings where conventional helicopters were once used. At Cal State East Bay, located in Hayward, the office of University Communications deployed a UAV to collect footage for campus promotion and news media purposes, says Jeffrey C. Bliss, associate vice president for university communications. He said the UAV footage was much more impressive than video he has collected in previous jobs that were shot from helicopters or fixed-wing aircraft. “We used it for a promotional video for the campus, and we’re always looking for ‘B-roll’ footage for the news 10

Above: Photo illustration of one possible use of UAVs: package delivery.

media, so when they contact us we have it available for them to use,” Bliss said. “We also use the footage for recruitment purposes, use it to reach out to donors and peer institutions. It presents such stellar photo and video opportunities. The drone footage provided a better visual of who we are and our place in the Bay,” Bliss said. The campus contracted out with a private firm to provide the footage, and made sure they had all the proper licenses and insurance coverage. UAVs have also gained the attention of contractors for their use in everything from managing jobsite progress and general monitoring of construction activities, to surveying, 3D mapping and automating the measurement of stockpiles of aggregates and other construction materials. In other areas of construction, they can be used to inspect hard-toreach areas and perform safety inspections. Testing is being done

to incorporate UAVs as production vehicles in running aerial cable and utility lines, as well as for hauling and delivering tools and parts within a jobsite. Contractors are always looking for that competitive edge and UAV technology can help them get into areas that humans or heavy machinery, either cannot venture or where a UAV would simply be more efficient and productive. Safety is also a concern and UAV technology is currently being used to inspect bridges and other structures to locate corrosion or possible failures, keeping a workers feet on the ground and out of danger. If you are an asphalt contractor, you can imagine the advantage of doing a flyover on a prospective jobsite and then using that as part of your sales presentation. UAVs could also be used to locate potential trouble areas or defects, assist in calculating a smoothness index,

California Asphalt Magazine • 2015 Equipment Guide Issue

Profile for CMS

California Asphalt Magazine 2015 EG  

California Asphalt Magazine is the official publication of the California Asphalt Pavement Association. This bi-monthly magazine distributes...

California Asphalt Magazine 2015 EG  

California Asphalt Magazine is the official publication of the California Asphalt Pavement Association. This bi-monthly magazine distributes...

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