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Bechtel granted permission to operate drones

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LNG Industry,

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted Bechtel permission to operate unmanned aircraft system (UAS) technology (also known as drones) on projects in the US to enhance construction processes within the virtual project delivery approach.

The FAA authorisation granted under the Section 333 of the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act is based on the UAS technology and accompanying software developed by Skycatch. The technology gathers real-time data and provides  data analytics necessary to improve efficiency of construction on large and complex projects.

Skycatch uses a patented automated power system that automatically recharges during operation, allowing the drones to fly for extended periods of time. The system can carry a variety of sensors such as high definition cameras, infrared scanners, thermal sensors, and radiation monitors. The data collected by the drone can be stored in a cloud, analysed within Bechtel's design and construction software requirements, and viewed on multiple devices by the teams on site.

Bechtel and Skycatch previously proved the technology's viability at one of the largest LNG projects in Australia.

Bechtel will use the technology to collect real-time environmental data to ensure safe operation of projects; to survey difficult and inaccessible terrain; and to track real-time construction progress.

Mike Lewis, Bechtel's Manager of Construction, said: "The use of UASs is crucial to continued innovation in engineering and construction […] We teamed with Skycatch to explore innovative ways of integrating drones into our execution systems, particularly on the megaprojects Bechtel is building around the world. This technology helps improve safety and quality of project delivery by providing real-time data and analysis to project teams so they can act in a timely manner."

Christian Sanz, Founder and CEO of Skycatch, added: "We have put a lot of thought into our drones and their operation, heavily focused on the safe and efficient use of the technology […] We developed a unique platform connected to a Cloud for real-time analytics, and with pre-programed geographic controls for safe operation and compliance with flight announcements."

Edited from press release by

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