The Hartsfield-Jackson international airport, in Atlanta, is one of the busiest airports in America — also the World. By 2015 it had already seen more than 100 million passengers come through the hub.
Atlanta needed a way to reduce the stress on its infrastructure. They found it through the use of drones.
Three companies took to the task of drone flying:
This came at no easy task because of regulations by the FAA. The companies proved their abilities and technology. The Site Scan technology was the tipping point for FAA regulators to allow drone operators access to the airport.
How does drone flying help rework the World’s busiest airport?
Drone Flying and Airport Development
Safety is the utmost importance since many are wary about the idea of a drone flying around busy airport terminals and runways.
Regulations are set in place:
- Must be 16 years or older
- Pass the Aeronautical Knowledge Test
- Subject to height limits unless granted an official waiver
These operators must stay in constant contact with air traffic controllers.
Atkins, the design & engineering firm, was awarded the task of the demolition of the North and South parking garages which is planned to be rebuilt. They will also work on building a new airport hotel.
This is not only a project for expanding the airport but also opening future developmental procedures. The use of drones and mapping technologies may reduce the tedious task of building maps and models.
It will come at a challenge despite clearance from the FAA.
Skepticism runs high due to the public perception and fear of drones within such a busy environment. Yet, Atkins believes this reception will be positive due to the professionalism of commercial drone flying and skills of their operators.
As of Jan. 10th, 2017, the team has already successfully flown several times. These flights were able to capture hundreds of images across the 40+ acres along the North and South parking structures.
These 2D and 3D point clouds allow the company to create a detailed model when submitted to Site Scan (the aerial data capture program created by 3DR).
This data creates a detailed overview of the areas which will reduce the impact construction has within the already busy environments. The designs will help architects plan future projects without disrupting the daily activities of the airport.
The Future of Drones
The future is bright for commercial drone operators now that FAA regulations have created a standardized set of rules.
It will be a true test of the industry with this project to update the Hartsfield-Jackson international airport.
The new Part 107 regulation has lowered the barrier of entry for commercial drone flying. The market has delivered a wealth of professional and prosumer quality drone builds.
Only time will tell how it will be used on other large projects.
There are exciting new developments for air travel. Drones will, without a doubt, be one of the factors that bring the industry into a new, golden era.