Inside Unmanned Systems

OCT-NOV 2016

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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37 unmanned systems inside October/November 2016 ENGINEERING. PRACTICE. POLICY. A controller for an intelligent compaction system that uses a roller to compact asphalt. AIBOT X6 MFR: Aibotix TYPE: Hexacopter WEIGHT: Max take-off weight 4.6–6.6 kg FLIGHT TIME: 20 minutes LAUNCH/RECOVERY: Vertical Take Off and Landing OTHER: Can be used with digital cameras for georeferenced images, thermal sensors as well as hyperspectral and multispectral sensors. G E A R "For instance, when it came to a project to rebuild an interchange on the interstate that was designed to be three years long, K&E managed to shorten it by one year down to two years," Singh said. "So that's less time and money, and less disruption to traffic, and one less year on a site where all sorts of traffic is trying to maneuver through a work zone, so the reduction of risk of accidents is huge. We find that contractors that use AMG are getting jobs while others are not, and the others are scrambling to catch up." "In my experience, Ron's approach toward automated machine guid- ance and drones is very unique in the world of departments of transpor- tation—it's the most progressive I've seen," said Paul McDaniel, owner of Advanced Geodetic Applications, Lyons, Colorado. "Whereas most of the departments of transportation that I'm familiar with have taken the stance that this technology is an oncoming freight train that they can do nothing to stop, his approach is to embrace it, that this is technology that can be useful if we learn what its capabilities really are. I've found that to be a very refreshing approach. If you don't understand how this tech- nology works, you leave yourself open to manufacturers and contractors taking advantage of you." Oregon's tax and funding allocation structure means that ODOT "is better funded, and more dependably so, than a lot of other departments of transportation are," McDaniel said. "With that said, Ron has made very good use of the resources at his disposal, accomplishing the most with the least, whether that's dollars or manpower. Ron has tried to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to technology, and most governmental organizations I know of, whether local, state or federal, have let the curve get ahead of them." Future Directions Federal regulations still pose significant hurdles to what Singh would like to achieve with drones. "We cannot f ly drones over people, so if we're doing a project and we're mapping the highway system, we do work out in remote areas, and in areas where the traffic volumes allow us to," Singh said. The level of accuracy Singh can currently achieve with drones also limits what construction projects he would like to do with them. "Say you're building a concrete bridge deck—you need to get a vertical accuracy of plus or minus 2 to 3 millimeters, while if you're constructing a paved road, a vertical accuracy of plus or minus 1 centimeter is very reasonable, and if you're building ditches or shoulders that are dirt, a vertical accuracy of a few centimeters will do," Singh said. "With drones, right now, best-case scenario, we can get a vertical accuracy of plus or minus 2 centimeters. So for things like matching a road to an existing road, we wouldn't use a drone, we'd use a different tool in our toolbox, like a robotic total station, or LiDAR sensors."

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