New (and Unreachable) Heights: Making Room for Drones in JBCI’s Toolbox
Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Systems (aka UAVs aka Drones) continues to be a hot topic for engineers and designers. By 2020, the overwhelming majority ($70 billion) of UAVs will still be used for making war, with consumer usage capturing another $17 billion. Of that $17 billion, A/E/C will represent $11.2 billion.
JBCI is testing the utilization of drones for exterior surveys and inspections. This includes areas that are too dangerous for humans or structures where rigging can be difficult or impossible. Two of our engineers, Michael Salera, EIT and Tyler Logar, received their Remote Pilot Certificate with a Small UAS Rating this summer allowing them to fly small unmanned aircraft. Mike and Tyler recently surveyed Princeton University’s Carnegie Lake Dam where we carried out a full restoration last year using our newest drone – a Phantom 4 Pro V2.0.
“It’s exciting to spearhead the use of new technology at our company,” says Mike. “It is an important step for us to add yet another tool to help our clients.”
Mike first brought his interest in drones to a team meeting last year when staff was asked to suggest technologies for the firm to invest in. Drones were not the only investment JBCI made that came out of that meeting. The staff decided to invest significantly in new printing software and hardware and purchase a fleet of new tablets to make field reporting easier.
“I’ve only been here for a few months and I was supported by the team to go after this certification,” says Tyler. “There were some mentions of drone usage in school but now that I am in the field, I understand why this technology can be extremely helpful in certain situations.”
JBCI plans to support the certification for all members of the engineering department so drones become as incorporated into site visits as the tablets have.