Bechtel Receives FAA Exemption to Operate UAVs to Enhance Construction Processes

Bechtel was recently awarded a Section 333 exemption from the FAA, allowing the company to operate UAVs to “enhance construction processes within the virtual project delivery approach,” according to a news release.

Bechtel will use software developed by Skycatch, according to a news release, to gather real-time data with a UAV and to provide the data analytics necessary to improve efficiency on large and complex construction projects. Skycatch uses a patented automated power system that is designed to recharge during operation, making it possible for UAVs to fly for extended periods. It can also carry a variety of sensors and high definition cameras.

“The use of UASs is crucial to continued innovation in engineering and construction,” said Mike Lewis, Bechtel’s manager of construction, according to the release. “We teamed with Skycatch to explore innovative ways of integrating drones into our execution systems, particularly on the megaprojects Bechtel is building around the world. This technology helps improve safety and quality of project delivery by providing real-time data and analysis to project teams so they can act in a timely manner.”

The data the drone collects can be stored in the cloud, according to the release, analyzed with the company’s design and construction software requirements and then viewed on multiple devices on site.

This real-time environmental data will help ensure safe operation of projects, will make it possible to survey terrain that is either inaccessible or difficult to reach, and will provide the information engineers need to efficiently design facilities with improved environmental footprints. It will also help track real time construction progress.

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