Costain has used UAVs, more commonly known as drones, on several projects, to survey large areas or parts of structures that are hard to access. However, it has decided against investing in the technology directly, preferring to outsource, because of the speed at which the technology is still developing.
“We have been developing an understanding of how and where the technology can deliver projects more efficiently and safely,” said Peter Slater, Costain’s aerial solutions manager.
“One of the main drivers of the work comes down to taking people out of hazardous environments,” said Peter. “In addition, improvements in speed, efficiency and payload make this a technology with high potential.”
He said: “We’re speaking to industry leaders in the UAV technology space and getting them to understand our needs and our customers’ needs. We have working relationships with a number of suppliers and will create a framework agreement with sector-specific suppliers that can cover a range of requirements.”
Although Peter Slater has completed his Remote Pilot Qualification ground school, he does not see Costain operating the UAVs itself just yet. “The technologies involved can become obsolete quite quickly,” he said. “On top of that, the regulatory environment governing their operation will continue to undergo some notable changes.”