- Kespry announced that its Drone 2.0 flies two times as long, covers two times the ground area, and has two times the wind resilience due to airframe, battery, and flight system improvements.
- UAV flight time of the Drone 2.0 has increased to 30 minutes-plus, allowing air coverage of up to 150 acres at a 400-foot altitude.
- Despite the lighter airframes, the micro UAVs are able to operate in 25-mph sustained winds with up to 35-mph wind gusts.
In June, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration implemented the first regulations on the commercial use of drones and UAVs, in part to help catalyze economic growth that it estimates at $82 billion while creating more than 100,000 new jobs over the next 10 years.
The regulations require pilots to keep drones within a visual line of sight and allow for daylight and twilight operations with anti-collision lights. They prohibit flights over unprotected people on the ground "who aren’t directly participating in the operation." That’s good news for commercial and industrial job sites, where all construction workers can be considered participants in the operation.
Before the new rules were released, drones were already flying over many construction sites on the sly, but the FAA’s regulation largely opened up the industry to drone flights for surveying, project management and analysis, safety monitoring and inspection, and even materials transfer.
Development of smaller, longer-flight drones with larger coverage areas may be an indication of the types of applications where UAVs find quick traction in the construction industry. With the regulations opening up job site airspace, accelerated use of drone technology is likely to drive further functionality enhancements as users test the limits of their UAVs. To that end, the FAA offers a process to waive some restrictions when an operator proves the proposed flight will be conducted safely under said waiver.