National Academies Press: OpenBook

Use of Unmanned Aerial Systems for Highway Construction (2022)

Chapter: Chapter 1 - Introduction

« Previous: Summary
Page 3
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Use of Unmanned Aerial Systems for Highway Construction. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26546.
×
Page 3
Page 4
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Use of Unmanned Aerial Systems for Highway Construction. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26546.
×
Page 4
Page 5
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Use of Unmanned Aerial Systems for Highway Construction. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26546.
×
Page 5

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

3   Introduction In the last decade, new technologies have transformed all of the stages of the construction industry, as more industry stakeholders have begun incorporating them into their daily con- struction activities. One of these technologies is unmanned aerial systems (UAS). UAS has been established as one of the main applicable and most quickly adopted technologies in the construction industry for general buildings. This first chapter provides an overview of UAS adoption by state DOTs and the objective of this synthesis and describes the study approach. 1.1 Background Many state departments of transportation (DOTs) have embraced the use of UAS technologies in several applications, as they offer efficient and safe operations. State DOTs’ UAS applica- tions include job site and work safety inspections, stockpile measurement, progress monitoring, environmental air and ground sampling, and two-dimensional (2-D) and three-dimensional (3-D) surveying. UAS has great potential to influence construction performance positively in terms of safety, quality, cost, and schedule. DroneDeploy reported that the use of drones in the construction industry has skyrocketed year after year, a 239% increase in the rate of usage over the past 5 years (DroneDeploy, 2018). The interest in adopting UAS technology in construction has grown 10% from 2016 to 2017, and 5% from 2018 to 2019 (JBKnowledge, 2017, 2019). This trend is expected to continue as drones are equipped with more complex features and sensors, which would enable them to automate different types of construction workflows. In 2016, the FAA published Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations for commercial use of UAS, which resulted in a significant increase in its use in construction. UAS is considered being capable of assisting with multiple tasks over different construction phases, including site preparation, mapping, and surveying tasks, as well as tracking materials and equipment on site for logistics management purposes. They can also be used for collecting multi-temporal information during construction, which can then be used for progress tracking, quality control, and safety manage- ment purposes. UAS can be used to observe construction sites from viewpoints that are not accessible to humans involved in the projects, which provides a more comprehensive and objec- tive angle to reduce errors and document project progress. Most recently, in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, construction companies can benefit even more from UAS for land surveying and site inspections, limiting time spent on site and helping with maintaining social distancing compared to traditional surveying. 1.2 Synthesis Scope and Approach This synthesis summarizes the findings from literature review of 22 state DOTs’ technical reports on their UAS research projects and case studies, a survey of state DOTs to summarize current practices, and follow-up interviews with four agencies to develop six case examples. C H A P T E R   1

4 Use of Unmanned Aerial Systems for Highway Construction The synthesis concludes with a summary of findings and directions for future research that would further help adoption of UAS technologies for highway construction. The synthesis scope covers the use of UAS in highway construction focusing on (1) the current uses of UAS for highway construction by state DOTs, (2) the practices for implementing UAS, (3) the cost factors in making program decisions, and (4) potential obstacles of UAS applications by state DOTs, which are detailed as follows: • Current uses of UAS for highway construction, including (but not limited to) the following: – Performing routine quality inspections – Performing work safety inspection – Measuring stockpiles – Monitoring work progress – Inspecting and documenting erosion and sediment control – Providing aerial surveying (e.g., construction, right-of-way acquisition, and utility relocation) – Mapping (3-D modeling) of construction that cannot be seen from the ground or in spaces where humans could be at risk • Practices for implementing UAS, including (but not limited to) the following: – Procuring UAS application services (e.g., DOT staff or outsourcing) – Selecting a platform – Selecting sensors – Selecting information technology (IT) resources (e.g., processing software, methods of securing data, internal hardware, cloud solutions, or distribution of UAS deliverables to users) – Measuring outcomes (e.g., safety, reduction in lane closure duration, increased inspector efficiency, or reduced cost) – Achieving public acceptance – Developing policies, standard operating procedures, and special contract provisions • Costs factors considered in making program decisions (e.g., acquisition strategies, selection of sensors, or staffing) • Potential obstacles of UAS applications by state DOTs, including, for example, the following: – Legal implications (e.g., privacy, FAA regulations, registration, and liability requirements) – Technical expertise – Training and workforce – Funding 1.3 Terminology Since UAS technologies and their components are referred to using a variety of names, this section of the Introduction will summarize the common terms used throughout the report and the definitions that were used during the conduct of this study. • Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) refers to small UAS that are equipped with visual sensors (i.e., digital cameras, lidar, or thermal cameras). • Orthophoto (also known as orthoimage) refers to an aerial image that is geometrically corrected such that the scale in vertical and horizontal axes are uniform. In UAS photogrammetry, orthophotos are often created by stitching multiple aerial images and georeferencing. Therefore, orthophotos are also referred to as mosaic images. • Real-time kinematic positioning (RTK) is a georeferencing technology that receives and corrects positioning information from a global navigation satellite system (GNSS). RTK devices are attached to UAS and provide coordinates of UAS location along with the images that are captured by UAS.

Introduction 5   • Ground control points (GCPs) are surveyed points that are used for georeferencing that correct the 3-D model and camera locations and orientations during 3-D reconstruction of images (reality capture process). GCPs are also used as checkpoints that are not used for 3-D reconstruction but only used to check the accuracy of the reconstructed 3-D model. 1.4 Synthesis Organization The rest of the synthesis is organized as follows: Chapter 2 presents the literature review of 22 technical reports that summarizes research projects and case studies on the use of UAS for their state DOTs. Chapter 3 presents a survey that was distributed to state DOTs to collect information about their current practices in UAS for highway construction. Chapter 4 presents follow-up interviews with four state DOTs that have participated in the survey. This chapter summarizes six case studies of actual UAS usage from those four agencies. Chapter 5 presents the summary of key findings and includes the identified information gaps that could enable state DOTs to enhance the benefits of UAS for their construction-related operations. The chapters are followed by a list of references and three appendices. Appendix A presents the survey questionnaire and Appendix B presents aggregate survey results, while Appendix C lists the case example interview questions.

Next: Chapter 2 - Literature Review »
Use of Unmanned Aerial Systems for Highway Construction Get This Book
×
 Use of Unmanned Aerial Systems for Highway Construction
Buy Paperback | $66.00
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

In the last decade, new technologies have transformed all stages of highway construction as more industry stakeholders have begun incorporating new technologies into their daily construction activities.

The TRB National Cooperative Highway Research Program's NCHRP Synthesis 578: Use of Unmanned Aerial Systems for Highway Construction documents the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) by state departments of transportation (DOTs) during highway construction, identifies potential benefits and obstacles DOTs face when implementing UAS in highway construction projects, and identifies information gaps to be filled that could enable state DOTs to enhance the benefits of UAS for construction-related operations.

READ FREE ONLINE

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!