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5 Applications of Drones for Heavy Lift Transport Projects

Actualizado: 17 may 2022

Drones, a technology that can reduce operating costs for the project cargo industry.

The use of drones for industrial purposes is not something new, in fact, over the last decade, we have seen how this technology has revolutionized numerous productive sectors through its application in activities that historically consumed a large number of resources, including time, tools, personnel, etc.

Today we see how the adoption of this piece of equipment is on a growing path as a valuable tool for large projects and their natural integration with new measurement and positioning technologies, allowing industries to produce deliverables with amazing precision and in a much more efficient manner, compared to traditional methods.

In this article we present 5 applications of how to benefit from drone technology in Heavy Lift Transport Projects:

1. Aerial Inspections: Route & Site Survey

Before the execution of a heavy lift transport project, it is recommended to carry out a thorough inspection and evaluation not only of the transport route, but also of the port where the cargo is going to be handled from, as well as the project site, including any external laydown area. The main objective is to identify critical points in order to analyze the pre-existing conditions of the route or areas of difficult access, which can make transportation way more difficult or that can result in improper cargo handling.

2. Topographic Survey

Using drones, it is also possible to quickly obtain the contour lines of an area of ​​interest, to analyze the land surface, and identify the areas that will require leveling work for the passage of the cargo, especially if it is transported over routes with steep inclines or needs to make extreme turns at some corners.

Contour Lines

Source: Servicio Periférico de I+D basado en Drones,

Escuela Superior de Ingeniería, Universidad de Almería

3. Drone Mapping and Swept Path Analysis

During the transport of oversized cargo, such as large storage vessels (LNG Bullet Tanks), windmill blades for wind projects, and some large metal structures, among other bulky cargo, it is very common in Heavy Lift Transport projects that the convoy needs to cross over narrow routes or to make extreme turns, especially in areas of high population density, for which it is necessary to carry out a drone mapping survey.

This type of study will allow us to generate a very high-quality and georeferenced image that will provide us with a flat top view of the land surface without any distortions, thanks to the altitude and geographic attributes of the pictures taken by the drone.

This type of deliverable will then help us to analyze any extreme turn on the route by performing a swept path analysis with millimetric precision to know if there are any obstacles between the truck’s turning radius that will be required to be removed so the trailer can perform such extreme turn.

Swept Path Analysis of a 65 m Windmill Blade


4. Site Drawings, Rendering and Layout of Operational Areas

Another way to take advantage of the benefits that drones offer for heavy lift projects is by generating orthophotos to plan and design the operational areas, such as:

  • Project Site Drawings

  • Laydown Areas and Storage Yards / Warehouses

  • Lifting Equipment layout

  • Transit Zone

Render of New Jersey Wind Port with Laydown Storage Yard for Windmill Components

Source: New Jersey Economic Development Authority

5. Project Progress Report: Aerial Photography and Video Shooting

Another use of drones in special cargo projects is found in the possibility of being able to record in high-quality photos and videos the progress of the works required for the passage of cargo. This allows to carry out proper monitoring of the development of the works that must be executed before the beginning of the transport to the project.

Project Progress Comparison

Source: DroneDeploy

Did you find it interesting? Do you have any doubt? Do you need help promoting the use of drones in your projects? We can help you.

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