Luck Stone, the construction aggregate division of Richmond, Va.-based Luck Companies, plans to accelerate its growth in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology through a new partnership with Airware, a provider of commercial enterprise solutions for capturing and analyzing aerial data.
As an early adopter of UAV technology, Luck Stone now owns a small fleet of UAVs that are deployed several times a week to collect data at many of the company’s 22 operations in Virginia and North Carolina. Another corporate investment in this fast-evolving field of expertise was dedicating an associate to be a full-time licensed UAV pilot.
“Luck Stone recognized the need to acquire greater amounts of accurate, repeatable data from the air that could be easily accessed and analyzed for improved operational efficiency,” says John Blackmore, survey and mapping supervisor at Luck Stone.
“UAV technology is changing rapidly, so we began talking with Airware last year and evaluating all of the drone solutions on the market,” he explains. “We were very impressed with Airware’s advanced, end-to-end UAV data collection processes and powerful analytics tools that were developed specifically for the mining and aggregate industry, which led to this exciting partnership.”
While flying above the Luck Stone operations, UAVs take hundreds of aerial photos that will be uploaded to Airware’s cloud-based platform. The business intelligence resulting from those images will be used for a wide variety of decision-making purposes to include volumetric measurements, safety inspections and pit efficiency analytics.
Earlier this year, global construction, energy and transportation manufacturer Caterpillar Inc. announced an investment in Airware through its wholly owned subsidiary, Caterpillar Ventures.
“Luck Stone has a long history of working with Caterpillar, and we are excited that Airware is now a part of that relationship,” says Blackmore. “A significant draw for Luck Stone to this partnership with Airware is their integration with machine telematics data. This real-time equipment data makes it easy for anyone to view the data needed and interpret it accurately. Our associates can access the information faster than ever before and analyze it to quickly improve our operational efficiencies at quarry sites and make better decisions for the company.”
“Luck Stone’s strong commitment to UAV technology is unprecedented for a privately owned mining company,” says Emmanuel de Maistre, vice president of AEC Solutions for Airware. “We look forward to collaborating with them to further develop industry-specific analytics that will significantly benefit mining and aggregate enterprises.”