DOT Test Program Could Widen Construction Drone Use
Construction Technology – The Trump administration is launching a pilot program that seeks to expand the use of aerial drones, a move that could increase that spread of the aircraft in the construction industry. President Trump signed a memorandum on Oct. 25 that directs the U.S. Department of Transportation to set up the new test program, approving arrangements with at least five states, localities or tribal groups that submit proposals for wider use of unmanned aerial systems, or UAS. U.S. DOT said that infrastructure inspections and monitoring are among the industries that “could see immediate opportunities” from the pilot program. DOT said the new pilot program will study such now-generally-prohibited activities as nighttime drone operations, flights over people and beyond the operator’s line of sight.
The FAA issued a forecast in March saying that the U.S. commercial drone fleet will climb more than tenfold over the next five years, to about 442,000, with an “upside possibility” that it could reach 1.6 million.