Why Drone-powered Road Surveys?

Drones have been integral in simplifying the complexities associated with the Construction Sector, as for any other industry. The adoption of drone technology has lifted the construction sector to higher peaks; Reports testify to a growth rate of 239% after the adoption of drone technology. This article intends to demystify the “Hows” and “Whys” surrounding these statistics.

Drone-powered Road Surveys

Road construction is not a one-time job; instead, it is more of a periodic trail of road maintenance measures. The United Arab Emirates, the epitome of construction ambition, is globally recognised as having the best-maintained road networks. According to the Global Competitiveness Report issued by the World Economic Forum for 2019, the UAE occupies the seventh position in the road quality index; and Drones do contribute to this global ranking of the United Arab Emirates – we’ll come to that part in a bit.

On the other hand, research reports also discuss how poorly maintained roads have been a significant cause of accidents leading to fatalities. For instance, poorly maintained roads have caused almost half of all car accidents that happen each year in the United States. However, whether to expand an existing network, create new roads, or just maintain the old ones – Surveying massive road structures stretching for long kilometres is not-so-easy requirement. Likewise, minimising disruption when identifying faults is also a real challenge.

The traditional ground-based surveying methods are hazardous, time-consuming, labour-intensive, and, moreover, less efficient. Surveyors must move from point to point on foot, taking readings while braving dangers. It also tends to be a disruptive form of surveying, often causing a delay to nearby activity. Likewise, the data collection must be balanced with safety and convenience; the process should keep inspectors safe while unaffecting transportation. This is exactly where Aerial Road Surveys and Mapping come into the context.

Drone-powered Road Surveys

Drone-powered road surveys address the pitfalls of traditional road and infrastructure surveys. The fundamental advantage of any drone-powered survey is that it produces time-critical yet accurate measurements without compromising the safety and efficiency of the operations. A road survey identifies key elements of the roads – manholes, culverts, plinths, street lights, cables, bypasses, and so on – that too, with precise coordinates. Drones can do the job quickly, safely, and without compromising quality. Drone Technology can mitigate a lot of risks and conduct inspections in one-third of the time necessary while being more cost-effective and producing better data.

Drone-powered Road Surveys with Team FEDS

We conduct aerial surveys, inspections and monitoring using high-end surveying drones equipped with high-resolution sensors for superior data quality with up to centimetre-level accuracy. FEDS has a team of experienced Drone pilots and GIS experts working around the clock to deliver the best results possible. Our experienced pilots can collect aerial Data in less time while ensuring uninterrupted transportation.

How is a Drone-based Road Survey Conducted?

  • Upon aligning with the client’s requirements, the FEDS team details a proposal which briefs the best possible project execution strategy. This includes the drones and payloads used for the road-survey mission, flight plan, survey method, deliverables and anticipated data accuracy, an estimated project timeline, and so on. Our team then work on clearing all the necessary permits from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) (and from GCAA/ADC if necessary) for flying over the road networks and collecting data. Once the permits are cleared, we fix the survey schedules depending on permission dates, weather conditions, and the MOD officer’s availability. Meanwhile, our survey team plans the mission for flying and data processing.
  • The flight plan is prepared considering the location of the road, any obstacles or restricted areas, specific client requirements and so on. This is also the stage where they finalise the data processing agenda, perform the risk assessments and so on.
  • The actual take-off is the next phase. What usually took months with traditional surveying and mapping solutions is now possible in just days!
  • Once the drone lands, all the collected raw data goes to the MOD for security purposes. After the valuation by the concerned authorities, we collect the security-check-cleared data from BAYANAT. The captured data will always have location coordinates, aka geotags. However, since our Survey team is particular about achieving the maximum possible accuracy, they validate the data with Ground Control Points. This refined data is processed to solve photogrammetry errors with the help of specialised software solutions.
  • Once the processing is done, our GIS team uses multiple GIS software solutions to derive valuable insights from the processed data. The data is carefully analysed to extract valuable insights, and the team then submits a comprehensive mission report to the clients. This report is further leveraged as a basement for any necessary road maintenance works.

Deliverables of our drone-powered Road Survey:

  • Orthomosaic
  • 3D Models
  • Digital Surface Model
  • Digital Terrain Model
  • Thermographic Data

Convinced Yet?

Best road networks make our lives even better! For instance the United Arab Emirates; UAE is recognised as having the best-maintained road networks in the world. Likewise, this nation also happens to be world’s fourth best place to live and work. Drones have been instrumental in this continuous journey of achieving excellence.

Drone-powered solutions make your Road Survey initiatives more Fast, Safe, cost-effective and efficient. Moreover, the possibility of incorporating Artificial Intelligence in our post-processing phase further escalates the efficiency of our drone operations, maximising efficiency and ensuring accountability in your projects.

If you’re looking for an inspection solution that can produce better results at a more competitive price in a shorter time, please feel free to contact us. We’d be happy to organise a personalised free consultation for you!

About the author

Maria Thomas

Maria Thomas