Global construction firm adds UAS service

By Luke Geiver | April 09, 2015

Bechtel Construction, a global engineering procurement and construction firm with more than 58,000 employees, has enlisted an unmanned aircraft systems platform and data capture developer to assist with major construction projects in the U.S. Bechtel received a Section 333 exemption from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration recently, allowing the EPC to work with the San Francisco-based Skycatch team to deploy a UAV on construction sites.

“The use of UAS is crucial to continued innovation in engineering and construction,” said Mike Lewis, construction manager for the company. According to Lewis, Bechtel teamed with Skycatch to help with megaprojects around the world and increase safety at the worksite and real-time data to management teams.

In 2013, the duo worked together on a liquefied natural gas facility in Australia.

The Skycatch service includes data storage via the cloud, data analysis and a UAV platform that can be flown autonomously based on predetermined GPS coordinates. The system also features a unique battery changing station that automatically removes and places a new battery pack within the UAV upon its landing at a charging station. The system helps to keep small UAVs in-flight and on-task longer, according to the company.

The sUAV’s can carry multiple payload offerings, ranging from thermal imaging sensors to volumetric measurement tools.

“We have put a lot of thought into our drones and their operation, heavily focused on the safe and efficient use of the technology,” said Christian Sanz, Skycatch CEO. “We developed a unique platform connected to a Cloud for real-time analytics, and with preprogrammed geographic controls for safe operation and compliance with flight announcements.”

Skycatch was backed by several venture capital firms, according to the company.

Bechtel has worked on more than 25,000 projects in 160 countries on all seven continents in the infrastructure areas of: mining and metals; nuclear, security and environmental; and, oil, gas and chemicals. 

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