It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! No…It’s a Drone!

Drone Technology and the Paving Industry

Drones, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (if you want to get fancy with it) are hovering high these days. They can be found zooming around parks, crop dusting over farm fields, and swooping in to capture wedding parties as they stand smiling blindly into the sun. They are even becoming big players (or flyers) in the world of paving and concrete.

So Many Pretty Pictures!

The earliest and most basic use of drones in the asphalt and concrete arena was for marketing and documenting purposes. The ease of sending a drone up to take recorded images of the before, during, and after transitions of a project has served the industry well in regards to identifying needs and giving a nice visual of the completed work. But they have quickly evolved into so much more.

Exactly How Big is that Pile of Rocks?

Perhaps the biggest impact of drone technology as it applies to asphalt and concrete is at the aggregate plants. Estimating materials needed used to be a labor intensive and dangerous proposition and was never entirely accurate. It was a little more sophisticated than a guy measuring it out by the bucketful, but it still involved a fair amount of manual labor, math, and good old fashioned hill climbing. Drones have transformed this process by monitoring volume and contours of stockpiles from the air using sophisticated software. They are also increasingly used in conjunction with daily walkthroughs, identifying heat changes, gas leaks, broken equipment, and more from their bird’s eye vantage point.

No More Guy with a Shovel.

We’re lucky to not have to deal with too many potholes in the Bay Area, but in other parts of the country the constant freeze and thaw can wreak havoc on the roadways. Researchers in England have come up with drones which not only take images of the roadways to identify problem areas, they are also equipped with 3D printers and an extruder to land and fill the cracks and crevices on the spot. This means the stretch of road can be assessed and repaired in a matter of hours rather than days. The timely repairs ease traffic hassles and also increase the lifespan of the road.

But What About Pizza?

It’s all fascinating stuff, and we are anxious to see how drone technology and other advances in the industry will enhance what we do day to day. To be honest, we are mostly just waiting for drones that will show up on the porch with a piping hot pizza…. In the meantime, you can rest assured Black Diamond Paving & Concrete will continue to shine in the basics, providing expertise, attention to detail, and superb customer service with every project we undertake.