Roger Triana of Quinn Consulting Services (second from left) shows attendees examples of drones his firm uses for inspections.

By Rich Juliano, senior vice president, policy, and managing director of Contractors Division, ARTBA

Growing use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) technology helps the transportation construction industry save time and money while enhancing safety, according to ARTBA members at a recent innovation showcase. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) invited ARTBA to arrange presenters for its first Innovation Summit of 2018, which took place Oct. 18-19 in Baltimore. Two sessions focused on the use of UAS (commonly known as drones) by the industry and state departments of transportation. FHWA is conducting five summits as part of its Every Day Counts (EDC) program, which seeks to promote the use of new technologies and other innovations on highway construction projects.

Mike Sakata, executive director of the Maryland Transportation Builders & Materials Association, ARTBA’s chapter in the state, showed photos and video provided by Duit Construction, demonstrating how the Oklahoma contractor can follow progress on its projects and track its materials inventory much more efficiently with UAS devices.  Sakata also joined Roger and Chris Triana of Quinn Consulting Services, a Virginia-based firm, for a live demonstration of drone capabilities, as well as a “show and tell” of devices currently in use.

ARTBA’s Task Force on New Technologies, co-chaired by Tim Duit of Duit Construction, and Paula Hammond of WSP USA, has been exploring emerging UAS capabilities and the regulatory barriers to its optimum use by the industry. The co-chairs and staff have participated in numerous meetings with federal and state officials, advocating for appropriate waivers so public and private sector professionals can deploy drones more efficiently on projects. For more information on the task force’s activities, contact me at rjuliano@artba.org.