At Bituminous Roadways, Inc. (BR), we are your source as an industry leader in providing superior asphalt paving services, and we have decades of experience helping government agencies, organizations, private businesses, and companies in the Twin Cities with asphalt installation and repair.

There is no doubt the use of technology in the workplace has soared over the last decade, but what specifically has changed throughout the construction industry? Like the implementation of GPS technology for surveying, innovations that can make our process more efficient, accurate, affordable, safe, and easier are welcomed by our team!

One of the biggest technological upgrades throughout this industry and at BR is the implementation of drones. This innovation has made it much easier and more efficient to collect data, ensure safety, and improve accuracy. 

Learn more about drone technology in the industry and discover what sets our usage of drones apart! 

Technology Advances in the Construction Industry

Accuracy has been the biggest change in the industry over the last 10 years. There has been machine control for a long time, but we have gone from 0.1’ accuracy to 1mm accuracy by using total stations. 

The ability to use machine control in tough locations has also increased. It is now possible to capture upwards of 40 satellites, whereas three years ago, in the same location, that number would have been 15. This has increased accuracies 10x and has also made it possible to get under trees and closer to buildings. 

The same thing has happened to the survey equipment, including the use of drones. In the past, it would have taken days to process any data, and the accuracy was 0.5’. Today with the help of drones, it takes only hours to process and is within 0.1’ accuracy.

Up until recently, photogrammetry (a three-dimensional coordinate measuring technique that uses photographs as the basis for measurement) was not all that accurate, so LIDAR (light detection and ranging) was used, which is much more expensive. 

How Are Drones Being Implemented Today at BR?

One of the main uses of drone technology for BR is measuring stockpiles of materials. Having an accurate count of class 5 aggregate, asphalt rubble, and recycled asphalt products assists in material sourcing.

Our goal is to use our own material, and by getting accurate counts via drones, we know how much we have or how much we may need to source from other vendors. Today, it is not only possible to capture photographs and video footage from 400 feet in the air, but BR is also able to measure all of the material stockpiles in about 30 minutes each, getting accuracies down to 0.1’. In the past, this task would have taken days. 

It is also possible to topo sites within a matter of minutes instead of hours while getting thousands of points instead of hundreds. This allows us to capture more comprehensive data on the site and in areas that are typically difficult to capture.

Safety is one of BR’s core values, and we can utilize drones as a safety tool, creating maps for the field that are able to address any utility locates, iron, and site progress. 

Finally, using drones to capture a bird's eye view of job sites allows us to use photos for our website, social media posts, and other marketing projects.

How Are Drones Being Used By BR’s Competitors?

Many other companies are using drones mainly for stockpiling and progress on bigger jobs. It is unknown if any of the competitors are using drones for the safety side of things. 

What Certifications Do You Need to Pilot a Drone?

To pilot a drone for company use, one must acquire an FAA Remote Pilot Certificate (part 107). If the drone use was purely for recreation, the certificate is not technically needed, but you do need to be aware of all the rules and regulations associated with flying a drone.

Currently, BR has two pilots in the company, Nate Larson and Bret Beckman. Contact us today for more info!