Using Drones for Road Building

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Drones for Road Building

Aerial drones or UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) can assist construction companies involved with asphalt production and road paving, including DOT (Department of Transportation) organizations. Drones can help with asphalt plant stockpile inventories, road project planning, and road and bridge inspection.

Road Projects and Drones

Drones can be used by companies to create accurate current topography maps with elevation contour lines, and detailed 2D and 3D models.

As the road project continues, ongoing drone missions can capture the exact location and volume of the movement and excavation of land and materials to assist with surveying and planning. Project managers, estimators, and DOT teams can easily plan and monitor road projects, identifying issues that may cause delays or additional costs.

Kespry's automated drone makes it quick for teams to collect aerial information, and the cloud-based reporting system makes it easy for remote teams to access and collaborate on the maps and models.

Read in Rock to Road how Terus Construction is using Kespry drones for gravel road projects.

Drones for Asphalt Plant Stockpiles

Asphalt Plants convert sand, binder and filler into asphalt, macadam or blacktop that’s used in the production of roads and bridges. This heavy reliance on aggregate materials, especially sand and gravel, creates the need for large stockpiles that need to be measured, monitored and controlled.

A commercial drone can be easily flown over an asphalt plant to measure stockpile volumes as frequently as needed. The Kespry Drone System is completely automated, from takeoff to landing, and can fly a 150 acre Asphalt Plant in less than 30 minutes, with no pilot training or joystick involved.

Kespry’s Cloud Reporting automatically turns aerial images into maps, contours, elevations and 3D models available online. The volume and weight of every sand and gravel stockpile can be automatically calculated in minutes. Even odd-shaped stockpiles against plant walls can be accurately measured.

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We use the System to measure stockpiles, manage inventory and for pit planning, as well as surveying new and existing quarry locations.

Chris Hendsbee
Crushing Operations Manager,
Wapiti Gravel Suppliers

Drones for Road and Bridge Inspections

A March 2016 survey by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), showed that 33 state departments of transportation have or are exploring, researching or testing drones to inspect bridges.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation recently completed a study on the benefits of using drones to inspect roads and bridges. MDOT estimated that a standard bridge deck inspection costs $4,600, takes eight hours, a crew of four people and heavy equipment. The same inspection with a drone takes just two people and two hours, at a significantly lower cost.

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The UAVs can get in and get out quickly, capturing data in near real-time and causing less distraction and inconvenience to drivers.

Steven J. Cook
P.E. Engineer of Operations and Maintenance,
Michigan Department of Transportation