Drone Safety in Construction, Utilities, AG and More

November 4-10 was the Federal Aviation Administration‘s (“FAA”) first annual National Drone Safety Awareness Week. The FAA’s mission is to provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world, which it accomplishes by ensuring that all those who utilize the U.S. airspace operate safely and responsibly. This year, the FAA is implementing National Drone Safety Awareness Week to help educate the public about drone safety by highlighting how key sectors of the drone community are engaging with the public and spreading awareness throughout all 50 states on specific focus areas.

Image of Drone Safety
Drone Safety

From an article on LinkedIn by Grant Guillot.

This article is the third in a series, “DRONES are SAFE!”, which focuses on how drone service providers, government stakeholders, and drone end users are working together to facilitate the integration of safe drone utilization into various commercial operations. This particular issue focuses on construction, energy/oil & gas/utilities, agriculture, and forestry, and it address how drones are helping inspect infrastructure, like railway tracks, power lines, and pipelines; removing the human risk in hazardous jobs; and helping monitor and track agriculture and forestry issues.


End users in the construction industry utilize drones for many tasks, including surveying and plotting of sites, monitoring progress and materials, performing inspections, maintaining security, and marketing for sale. Drone use in the construction industry continues to skyrocket, with one study finding that drone use on construction sites rose by 239 % from 2017 to 2018. In addition, data suggests that drones will be used by more than 25 % of the construction industry as soon as 2020. 

The increasing utilization of drones in the construction industry is not surprising as one survey found that using drones resulted in 5 to 20 times cost savings; 55 % increased safety; 61 % more accurate measurements; 65 % improved communication and collaboration; and 52 % reduced time to data insights. Notably, within the past year the construction industry has achieved significant advances in drone utilization, one example being Hensel Phelps’s historic obtaining of a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly small drones over people. 

Kiewit incorporates the use of drones in areas when normally a worker may have to be put at risk, such as scaling the side of a building to inspect windows or climbing on top of material piles to survey a quantity,” says John Rygg, a Technology Specialist with the Kiewit Technology Group. “We can more effectively use a drone in these situations to reduce risk of our workers.”

Brasfield & Gorrie first realized the value of using drones for critical inspections of vertical structures in 2014 when renovating an existing healthcare facility,” explains Hunter Cole, who works in Innovation & Operational Technology & Brasfield & Gorrie, L.L.C. “Since that first proof of concept, the company has flown over 2,000 flights internally, for use cases ranging from detailed 3D reconstruction of existing structures to survey-grade topographical surveys. When feasible, we will always choose to complete hazardous inspections with a drone while keeping our people safely on the ground, out of harm’s way.”

Railway companies are also utilizing drones to increase safety in operations. As stated by Todd Graetz, Director of the UAS Program at BNSF Railway, “Ultimately, drones are one of many tools used to reduce exposure of our employees to unknown risk. BNSF operates in a safe but unforgiving environment, and any tool that can assist with rail safety while reducing employee risk is valuable.”

For the full article click here.

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