Balfour Beatty deploys drone tech as part of M6 smart motorway development


Balfour Beatty has been using drones as part of its development of the smart motorway on the M6.

With support from Heliguy, the infrastructure group has been using drones, including the DJI Phanton 4 RTK, in a bid to increase efficiency, gather data faster, improve asset productivity and gain high-accuracy results.

Specifically, drones are being used for quicker stockpile measurements, informative aerial progress reports as well as accessing hard-to-reach areas.

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Craig Matthews, principal UAS manager for Balfour Beatty commented: “Drones are a great tool to deliver the results safely, quickly and accurately.”

He added: “They remove people from harm’s way, which is a big plus for us, and they give the project team and clients a unique view on the progress of a project that you couldn’t get from the ground.”

Balfour Beatty has been using drones since 2015 and has 11 pilots something which in the future, the company wants to expand on as part of its Innovation 2050 vision.

Matthews continued: “Thanks to drones, the team can fly over the site and digitise the area in a fraction of the time that it would take to use traditional, onsite methods. This leads to faster data collection and increased efficiency. 

“The drones are a great time saver. Take the recycling compound for example. If we were to measure stockpiles with traditional survey tools, it would take a lot longer to measure the site and gather the data, whereas drones enable the team to do fairly rapid measurements of different types of materials and earthworks.

He concluded: “It would take a surveyor, using traditional handheld equipment, about a day to measure the stockpiles and process the data. But using the drone, we can fly over the compound in 15 minutes and process the model in about two hours.”

Watch Heliguy’s video on Balfour Beatty’s use of drones here:

Tags : Balfour BeattyconstructionHeliguy
Alex Douglas

The author Alex Douglas

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