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How Are Drones Used For Road Construction and Surveying?

How Are Drones Used For Road Construction and Surveying?

Road construction is a national livelihood issue, involving a large amount of complex engineering and precision work. Drone technology brings a whole new change to road construction and surveying, with fast image and data capture capabilities, which are far more effective and cost-effective than traditional methods.

During the road construction process, from clearing and excavation to fine leveling and paving, as well as surveying and measuring foundations, each stage requires huge manpower and material resources. Drones can capture high-resolution images and data from the air, provide road geographic information system (GIS) data, measure foundations and pavement with centimeter-level accuracy, and help direct the pouring of asphalt and concrete. Drones are an important tool for aerial observation.

If you are a paving contractor and you are considering using drones in road and highway construction, then check out this guide.

Drones Used For Road Construction

6 Benefits of Drones for Road and Highway Construction

1. On-site measurement and mapping

Drones equipped with cameras can quickly explore large areas and generate 2D/3D models using drone images. However, such models often have accuracy but lack precision, and the generated models are incoherent and prone to missing important details.

Drones equipped with cameras, RTK modules and LiDAR sensors go a step further and can quickly survey large areas to generate detailed maps and 3D models.

Drone images can generate topographic maps, orthophotos, corridor maps, earthwork surveys, and more. The precise image data captured by RTK drones and LiDAR mapping drones is not only used in road construction projects, but is also important for field surveys for stakeholders such as bridges or tunnels, power companies, and oil and gas operators.

Topographic mapping with surveying and mapping drones creates accurate topographic maps by capturing data points from the ground, without the need for GCP points. On-site surveying and mapping with drones can also accurately calculate and measure material volumes such as soil or gravel, property lines, and project boundaries, and clarify values.

2. Planning and design

Aerial data collected by drones can be integrated into geographic information systems (GIS) and building information models (BIM), helping with route optimization and environmental impact assessments.

Before any asphalt pavement is laid, the route needs to be planned in advance and the impact on the surrounding area needs to be reduced. Drones are undoubtedly one of the best helpers. Drones can quickly survey large areas, helping you plan the most efficient routes for road construction and material transportation.

With RTK technology and high-definition imaging technology, drones can fully plan and design on-site construction in advance and provide data support for subsequent on-site decisions and plan adjustments.

3. Construction monitoring and management

Drones are highly maneuverable and easy to deploy, and can quickly inspect construction sites in a short period of time and repeatedly monitor construction.

Drones provide real-time progress reports and help manage construction projects, capturing aerial images to monitor the progress of construction activities relative to the project schedule; at the same time, they check the quality of construction, identify deviations from the plan, ensure compliance with safety standards; and monitor the use and allocation of resources such as machinery and materials on site.

Drone video is real-time, which means that construction supervisors can view progress tracking, quality control, resource management, on-site accident management, and supervision and management of construction workers in real time.

Drones Used For Road Construction

4. Inspection and maintenance

After the road construction is completed, regular road maintenance is also required. This includes structural inspections, surface inspections, environmental impacts, drainage functions, and hidden dangers of secondary construction.

Drones with high-definition cameras are very effective for road inspections. They can quickly check bridges, overpasses and other structures for signs of wear and tear, identify cracks, potholes and other road surface problems that need maintenance, and detect whether the surrounding ecological environment is damaged.

5. Safety Enhancement

Another major advantage of drones is that they improve the safety of workers and construction sites. Drones capture data in the air, can identify dangerous areas, reduce the possibility of manual surveyors entering dangerous areas, and visit difficult-to-reach or dangerous areas.

Drones can fly all day and night, and construction drones have higher protection levels and better performance. They can quickly fly over the site, monitor the construction site, alert workers and management to safety issues on the site, and are easy to manage.

6. Efficiency and cost savings

The use of drones can significantly reduce the time and cost associated with road construction and measurement, and play a huge advantage in road repair and maintenance work.

Compared with traditional ground GCP point settings, rtk drones and radar mapping drones can collect data faster and reduce labor costs. Compared with helicopter aerial photography, it is more cost-effective.

Drones Used For Road Construction

Drones for road construction

Road construction is an important public infrastructure for national development, and the introduction of drones is revolutionary. Whether in urban or rural areas, developing road construction is a benefit to oneself.

Highway construction: Drones are used to monitor large highway projects, providing real-time data to project managers.

Urban planning: Urban planners use drones to assess and plan road networks in urban areas.

Rural road development: In remote areas, drones help measure and plan new roads that are difficult to access.


Drones are revolutionizing the way roads are built and measured, providing a combination of speed, accuracy and safety. As drone technology continues to improve, their application in these areas is likely to expand, further improving the efficiency and effectiveness of infrastructure development.

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