• Training and Case Studies for UAV-based LIDAR and Imaging Systems

    NCDOT Research Project Number: 2020-35

 Executive Summary

  • ​Small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are often used in mapping, aerial surveying, worksite surveillance and real-time inspections. When equipped with appropriate sensors, they have been proven extremely cost-effective and efficient in surveying large areas, and creating 3D point cloud, models and maps. Recent advances in technologies such as camera imaging, sensing, avionics, battery, control and navigation, as well as newly promulgated policies and regulations regarding small UAVs at the federal and state levels have made UAV-based sensing systems more affordable, capable, reliable and user-friendly. UAV-based sensing will overcome disadvantages of conventional surveying methods, which include low efficiency in data capture, analysis and reporting; high demand in cost, manpower and time; limited accuracy and resolution; and limited human-accessibility in capturing information at a jobsite. In North Carolina, the construction industry and government agencies have started to use small UAVs in construction-related activities and disaster management. For the state agencies to better manage and oversee these activities, it is imperative for the state engineers in various units and offices to get more familiar with the UAV-enabled technologies. Training programs and case studies will be developed in this research project for applications of small UAVs and the affiliated sensors. Emphasis will be placed on how they can be utilized to replace or supplement traditional tools and methods in construction quality assurance, feasibility studies and planning of new transportation infrastructure, and other construction management aspects, as well as post-disaster infrastructure assessment. The technology transferred to NCDOT will enable significant savings in managing current and future projects, and will further help NCDOT revise and update regulations and guidelines for UAV applications in the State of North Carolina. Through this project, North Carolina will be able to take a leading position in regulating and managing construction and infrastructure-related applications of small UAVs in the country.

Zhen Zhu
Zhen Zhu; George Wang; Shanyue Guan
Don Early
Lisa E. Penny

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 Report Period

  • August 01, 2019 - July 31, 2021


  • In Progress


  • Planning, Policy, Programming and Multi-modal

 Sub Category

  • Miscellaneous

 Related Links

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