Bechtel has been granted permission from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the commercial use of unmanned aerial system technology.
This allows Bechtel to operate a Skycatch UAS for construction projects in the U.S. Founded in 1898, the engineering, project management and construction company has worked on more than 25,000 projects in 160 countries on all seven continents.
The company will use the technology to collect real-time environmental data (e.g., air quality and temperature) to ensure safe operation of projects; survey difficult and inaccessible terrain to provide accurate information needed for engineering teams to design facilities efficiently and with an improved environmental footprint; and track real-time construction progress, enabling site teams to work safely and plan construction more efficiently.
‘The use of UAS is crucial to continued innovation in engineering and construction,’ says Mike Lewis, Bechtel's manager of construction. ‘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.’
Skycatch’s UAS gathers real-time data and provides analytics to improve the efficiency of construction on large and complex projects. Skycatch uses a patented automated power system that automatically recharges during operation – allowing drones to fly extended periods of time. The system can carry a variety of sensors, including high-definition cameras, infrared scanners, thermal sensors and radiation monitors.
The companies teamed up in 2013 to further develop Skycatch’s UAS platform and integrate it into Bechtel's systems and processes. The data collected by the drone can now be stored in a cloud, analyzed within Bechtel's design and construction software requirements, and viewed on multiple devices by the teams on-site.
Bechtel's Section 333 exemption grant can be found here.