Dr. Javier Irizarry, P.E. & Dr. Dayana Costa

Potential Applications of Unmanned Aerial Systems for Construction Management Tasks

Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), commonly known as drones, have been recently featured in the mainstream media for not so positive reasons. However, we argue that the many positive uses, including in the construction industry, can outweigh the negative ones. These aerial vehicles do not carry a pilot, can fly autonomously or be piloted remotely. This system includes a portable control station for the operator and one or more Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The UAVs can collect and process data through various sensors, such as video or still cameras, including far and near infrared, radar or laser based range finders, or specialized communication devices. Most UASs are capable of real-time data transfer between the UAV(s) and the control station; some have additional on-board data storage capabilities for enhanced data collection tasks. UASs can perform tasks similar to those that can be done by manned aerial vehicles, but often faster, safer, and at a lower cost.