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Game of Drones

It is becoming increasingly common for companies to tap into the benefits of drone use within projects.  Each presentation highlighted the capabilities of drones to provide valuable spatial information with relatively easy to operate drones. Examples of the use of aerial photography and videography were detailed for exercises such as site mapping, inspections and asset monitoring.

The importance of drone regulation and safety was discussed several times throughout the event. This included the benefits of holding a remote pilot license along with drone accreditation. Drones are categorized based on their weight and intended use. It is important to be aware of the licensing requirements for the different categories.

Innovative drone use on remediation projects was presented throughout the night. While many of the examples given between projects involved their own unique challenges, the presentations discussed the ability of drones to reduce health and safety risks and solve complex sampling challenges.

Drones can greatly increase the efficiency of work in hazardous locations. Allan presented a Ventia project that required remediation works to be completed in an indoor environment. Surveillance drones were used to eliminate the need of many stakeholders to enter the site as inspections could be completed remotely and in doing so, eliminated potential exposure to contaminants and the need for high level PPE. Alan also presented an example of drone usage for surface water sampling in especially hazardous, negatively buoyant conditions. Again, the use of a drone eliminated a project hazard.

Scott detailed an AECOM project in which an underwater drone was used to overcome the challenges associated with a remote access pipeline in a marine environment. The design team at AECOM developed an innovative sampling attachment to an existing underwater drone. A series of spring loaded syringes were able to take individual samples throughout the interior of the pipeline. The use of an underwater drone was not only able to reduce the health and safety risk associated with the pipeline sampling, it also increased sampling efficiency compared with using a diver to collect samples.   

Companies should be aware of and consider the capabilities of drones for project use. The use of drones for surveying applications can provide beneficial spatial information to improve a remediation project. Aerial photography used for monitoring and mapping can be a great communication tool for companies to use between clients, contractors and project managers. Substituting drones for people in difficult sampling situations has the potential to eliminate much of the health and safety risks associated with the task.

Presenter Name Presenter Company
Allan Garland Ventia
Scott Robinson AECOM
Jackie Dujmovic Hover UAV

21 August 2019 Branch report submitted by Joshua Blackwell - Ramboll

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