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Impact of Drones on Civil Engineering


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This presentation shows how drones have been used successfully in construction and infrastructure asset management as aerial image and data capture devices thus far, review competitive and traditional approaches using incumbent technology, discuss the opportunities and challenges posed by the technology itself, outline the lessons learned, and discuss what’s next for drones in civil engineering.

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Impact of Drones on Civil Engineering

  1. 1. 1|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC IMPACT OF DRONES ON CIVIL ENGINEERING Presented to ASCE Golden Gate Branch January 24, 2018 By Colin Snow CEO and Founder Skylogic Research
  2. 2. 2|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC Buzz Word Bingo
  3. 3. 3|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC Topics 1. Commercial use of drones - overview 2. Successful drone use in civil engineering projects 3. Competitive and traditional approaches using incumbent technology 4. Lessons learned / opportunities and challenges 5. What’s next for drones in civil engineering?
  4. 4. 4|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC Hobby Mass produced Cheap Commer cialapplications Extensible High ROI Specialized use Proprietary Custom made Expensive Commercial drones Source: Skylogic Research
  5. 5. 5|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC Types Fixed wing Multirotor
  6. 6. 6|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC Aircraft Sensors/Payloads Ground Control & Communications SoftwareAvionics Unmanned ‘systems’ Commercial Applications Source: Skylogic Research
  7. 7. 7|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC Successful uses Aerial Photography Pipe/Power Line Inspection Real-estate Surveillance Mapping Stockpile Measurement 3D Imaging Mail / Freight Transport Rail Monitoring Agricultural Disaster Response/Relief Movie Productions Damage Assessment Sporting Event Coverage Infrastructure Monitoring Flare Stack Inspection Inventory Management Construction Reporting Source: Skylogic Research
  8. 8. 8|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC Civil Engineering
  9. 9. 9|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC Surveying / Mapping
  10. 10. 10|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC Surveying / Mapping Independent surveying / engineering / GIS companies Mining Construction Railroad Public infrastructure (highway, bridges, waterways, etc.) Business cases show drones to be a flexible alternative to manned aircraft and ground survey crews for mapping and surveying – sometimes at a lower cost. Drones are changing this science by putting the ability to shoot high-quality geotagged images into more hands
  11. 11. 11|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC Drones can… ..create automated maps
  12. 12. 12|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC Surveying / Mapping Major applications / use cases 2D orthophotos (using composite imaging software) • Survey drawings • Orthomosaic maps (site/zone/area) • Distance measurement • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) input 3D point cloud imaging (using photogrammetry software) • Digital elevation models (surface, terrain) • Distance and volumetric measurement (e.g. stockpile) • Building Information Modeling (BIM) input 3D imaging (using LiDAR) • Topographical mapping • BIM and infrastructure modeling input
  13. 13. 13|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC Public Infrastructure The inspection of structures like roads, highways, bridges, tunnels and railroads is a task that often can be made more efficient, effective and safer with drone technology. There are costs and dangers associated with sending a survey crew to look for damage that takes place over years or even decades. The pictures and videos can be easily captured by drones are only part of their appeal. Data taken from new sensor technology will open up opportunities related to preventative maintenance that will help resolve issues before they turn into actual problems. Utilizing drones also keeps people on the ground and away from the dangers associated with the inspection of structures like bridges and tunnels, regardless of their condition.
  14. 14. 14|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC Public Infrastructure Use cases – Bridges, Dams, Tunnels, Highways, etc. Corrosion Roadbed wear Weather & flooding damage Spillway cracks Geologic site conditions Hydrology Emergency preparedness documentation Structural stability Seismic stability Vegetation encroachment
  15. 15. 15|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC Railroads Since 2015 drones have been uses to do detective work in dangerous conditions, keeping rail employees safe while improving railroads’ ability to gather the information necessary to help detect problems and to plan and prioritize corrective action. As drone and associated on-board detector technologies advance, inspectors use data gathered by drones to identify defects rather than needing to physically access the track. Several other Class 1 freight railroads like BNSF and Union Pacific have been gearing up to incorporate drones for capturing images and air quality testing. These companies also is assessing drones for hard-to-do inspections, for example of elevated bridges and telecommunications antennae several hundred feet tall. As regulatory and operational hurdles to flying drones beyond visual line of sight are overcome, railroads across the United States are making plans to enhance safety programs using drones.
  16. 16. 16|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC Railroads Use cases Track alignment and measurements Track surface integrity (cracks) Track wear and damage assessments Bridge inspection Telecommunication antenna Corridor vegetation encroachment Physical and threat security Air quality assessments Spill and environmental monitoring Facilities management Construction progress reporting
  17. 17. 17|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC AEC
  18. 18. 18|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC AEC Use cases (by lifecycle) Design • BIM • Marketing (e.g. floor views) Construction • Cut & fill specs • Asset management • Stockpile volumes • Egress and on-site logistics • QA (CAD plan vs. actual) • Compliance and progress reporting Operation (use and maintenance) • Surface integrity • Measurements • Wear and damage assessments Demolition • Physical security • Facilities management • Spill Detection
  19. 19. 19|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC Incumbents Satellite data from companies like DigitalGlobe, Airbus Defense & Space, TerraBella, and PlanetLabs offers extensive coverage with wide spectral capabilities, but at times resolution can be relatively poor and clouds may provide inconsistence coverage. Manned aircraft - Higher resolution data with the same wide spectral capabilities can be acquired from manned aircraft, is also subject to weather conditions, but in some cases offer a lower acquisition cost per acre than drones Ground-based data acquisition using laser scanners and total stations also collects high-resolution data, but the process can be time consuming and in some cases more expensive.
  20. 20. 20|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC Typical data work flow Typical work flow today is an app based systems to perform basic UAS flight functions and trigger camera. After the flight operators upload the data to a cloud based software solution of their choice that are industry specific (e.g., Airware, DroneDeploy, Skycatch,) or desktop photogrammetry tool (e.g., Agisoft, Autodesk, Pix4D, SimActive) Plan mission Fly and capture data Upload data to desktop or data service provider Process data View, analyze, annotate, take measurements Download and create a report.. ..or import to CAD tool
  21. 21. 21|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC Pain points The pain points we hear most often about are: • Data accuracy • Workflow and data processing time • Downstream software integration • Data interpretation Data accuracy Software integration Workflow and processing time
  22. 22. 22|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC Lessons learned 1. Drones provide value on the jobsite daily. The value that drones bring to AEC firms is the ability to fly the exact same mission over and over. Once the initial flight plan is developed, any pilot can load a mission and replicate the original flight.
  23. 23. 23|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC Lessons learned 2. Using drone data in BIM requires pilot projects. “To achieve all the benefits BIM offers, everyone in the architecture, engineering, and construction industries will have to learn to work in fundamentally new ways.” Put another way, BIM requires a culture of collaboration—the exact opposite of throwing the plans over the wall to the team downstream.
  24. 24. 24|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC Lessons learned 3. Choose autonomous, integrated drone solutions wisely. A classic positioning battle has broken out. A partial list of players and their promises in alphabetical order includes: • 3DR – The Complete Drone Data Platform • Airware / Redbird – As-built vs. as-bid comparisons • DroneDeploy – The Complete Mapping Experience • Autodesk Forge – Future of making things, meet proven foundation • Identified Technologies – Never run late or over budget again • Kespry – Aerial Intelligence Platform • Pix4D – Generate 2D and 3D information, purely from images • Precision Hawk – Empowering The Commercial Drone Industry • Propeller – Effective and accurate site surveys and overall progress monitoring • SenseFly – The Professional’s Mapping Drone of Choice • Skycatch – Turn your drone photos into 3D models. Fast. • Trimble InSphere – Mobile workflows you can trust.
  25. 25. 25|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC Lessons learned 4. Drones require that you adopt more safety protocols Every drone operator and mission should be operated within the rules and regulations stipulated by the governing bodies applicable to you and your specific equipment. Safety plans should encompass not only the drone aircraft airworthiness it- self but also the following: Area and environment – hazards, weather, airspace restrictions, bystanders Mission plan – contingency planning for safe exit routes in the event of a system failure, degraded performance, or lost communication link Public awareness – notification of nearby property owners of your intentions (permission) Preflight / run-up – verification that all ancillary equipment is operating to specification In-flight – proximity of other aircraft and pilot intensions to land
  26. 26. 26|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC What’s next? We believe in 2018 software will dominate drone technology advancements. This includes: Imaging • RGB, thermal imaging, orthomosaic, radiometric data combo Cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) • Machine learning (deep learning, predictive analytics) Edge-based AI • Vision (image recognition, machine vision) BIM, workflow, and asset management systems • Documentation, tracking, and GIS data integration Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) • Drone ID • Performance based navigation (standards based)
  27. 27. 27|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC Questions?
  28. 28. 28|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC About Skylogic Research, LLC is a research, content, and advisory services firm supporting all participants in the commercial unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) industry. We help companies make critical investment decisions with confidence by providing research-based insights on the commercial drone markets. Our focus is on the needs of three constituents: • Manufacturers, suppliers, and business service providers – who need research and insight into buyer needs • Buyers of UAS technology and services – to help inform their acquisition decisions • Investors – who need to distinguish technical and market viability This focus, plus research as a foundation and reach into a community of more than 90,000 business executives and innovators through social media and media partnerships, allows us to deliver a high-value, low-risk method for achieving optimal understanding. Drone Analyst® is the registered trademark and brand name and trademark of Skylogic Research, LLC Learn more: Web Twitter @droneanalyst Email
  29. 29. 29|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC Management Colin Snow, CEO and Founder 25-year technology industry veteran with a background in manufacturing, electronics, digital imaging, field service, software, research, and mobility. Colin served as a marketing and operations manager at Olympus Corporation, Oracle / PeopleSoft, Steelwedge Software, and SAP. As an industry analyst at Ventana Research, he covered a range of topics including supply chain management, operational performance, and product information management. Colin holds an M.B.A. from Florida Atlantic University, is a member of the major UAS industry groups including AUVSI, RCAPA, and AMA, and is a Part 107 FAA Certified Remote Pilot. Full bio here. Charlotte Ziems, Chief Content Officer 25 years of experience in publishing, business management, market research, and content marketing. Charlotte served as vice president of InfoWorld’s Test Center, founded InfoWorld Consulting Services, and held executive editorial positions at publications including Computerworld, PC Resource, PC/Computing, PC Week, and Computer Shopper. After leaving journalism to grow business at a content marketing agency, she joined Informatica and now Sitecore as VP content marketing. Charlotte holds a B.A. in English from the University of Virginia and is an avid equestrian, gardener, and drone enthusiast. Deeptechnologyandmarketingexperience
  30. 30. 30|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC Contributor /Advisors Jonathan Rupprecht is a drone attorney and a commercial pilot currently practicing drone law in South Florida at his firm Rupprecht Law, P.A. Will Tompkinson is owner and consulting lead for Insightful Dimensions and specializes in the domain of 3D data capture and LiDAR for the purposes of metrology and geomatics applications. Bill McNeil has over 25 years’ experience developing and marketing GIS applications and is an expert in UAVs for mapping and surveying. Chad Colby is founder and principal of Colby AgTech and is the industry-leading advocate for the use of unmanned aerial systems in agriculture. Steve Maller, founder of Mallermedia, is a professional photographer and videographer providing expertise in increasingly complex and capable aerial camera platforms for the film / photo / video market. These independent professionals lend their proficiency and assistance to provide industry insights, thought leadership content, research, and consulting.
  31. 31. 31|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC We have over 5,700 clients worldwide Research,content,oradviceto:
  32. 32. 32|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC In the press Article list: Live/recordedmedia:
  33. 33. 33|© 2018 Skylogic Research, LLC ©2018SkylogicResearch,LLC. Allrightsreserved. This publication is not approved for public release and distribution. Drone Analyst® products and services mentioned herein as well as their respective logos are trademarks of Skylogic Research, LLC. These materials are provided by Skylogic Research are for informational purposes only, without representation or warranty of any kind, and Skylogic Research shall not be liable for errors or omissions with respect to the materials. In particular, Skylogic Research has no obligation to pursue any course of business outlined in this document or any related presentation, or to develop or release any functionality mentioned therein. This document, or any related presentation, and Skylogic Research strategy and possible future developments, products, and/or research directions are all subject to change and may be changed by Skylogic Research at any time for any reason without notice. The information in this document is not a commitment, promise, or legal obligation to deliver any material, research notes, or web content. v170615