Leica Geosystems (Hexagon) > Case Studies > UAV for Construction Sites

UAV for Construction Sites

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 UAV for Construction Sites - IoT ONE Case Study
Technology Category
  • Drones - VTOL & VTOL Hybrid Drones
  • Sensors - Camera / Video Systems
Applicable Industries
  • Construction & Infrastructure
Applicable Functions
  • Field Services
Use Cases
  • Construction Site Monitoring
The Customer
About The Customer
The Swiss power company Axpo
The Challenge

The Swiss power company Axpo is building a new, underground pumped storage plant – the largest in the country – in the Canton of Glarus. In the future, the plant will guarantee the future electricity supply to northeastern and central Switzerland. The plan is for the plant to pump water from Lake Limmernsee back up to Lake Muttsee – an altitude difference of 630 metres – where it can be used again to generate electricity when required. This large-scale project, which involves investment costs of around 1.7 billion euros and is expected to take the best part of five years to complete, will employ up to 500 people at various construction sites. The plant should start to deliver electricity in 2015/2016. Hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of soil and rock will have to be removed to build the tunnels and caverns for the pumped storage plant. Most of this spoil will be transported to the Muttenalp mountain by cable car and used to build the dam, which will be more than a kilometre long and rise to a maximum height of 36 metres. The rest of the material will be deposited in front of the existing Limmern dam. The company needs to survey the surrounding before implementing the project.

The Solution

The Swiss power company Axpo is using the Aibot X6 UAV to survey and document the major construction project “Linthal 2015” in the Glarner Alps region. In an initial step, the entire Linthal valley was surveyed from the air and a point cloud with an accuracy of up to 1 cm was generated. This data will now form the basis for planning subsequent steps of the construction process. In October 2014, Axpo used the Aibot X6 for the first time to survey this area, which is known as the Limmerntobel Inert Matter Disposal Site. The UAV was fitted with a Nikon Coolpix A digital camera. The surrounding mountains blocked satellite signal reception, so the aircraft was flown manually, without GPS navigation. Photographs of the terrain were taken at a vertical angle during the flight to create high-resolution images of the disposal site with a 60% to 90% overlap. Prior to the flight, 14 ground control points were plotted evenly in a distance of approximately 50 to 80 meters in seven corners of the surveyed area for subsequent georeferencing of the images. The 50,000 square metres of land were surveyed in two flights lasting 10 minutes each. Agisoft photogrammetry software was used to process the data collected and a precise point cloud with an accuracy of up to 1 cm was generated. The whole evaluation processed lasted about 120 minutes. The point cloud was then integrated in the local coordinate system of the construction site, enabling Axpo’s surveyors to calculate the volume of the deposited material. Periodic photographic records of the disposal site had previously been created using an external filming system suspended from a helicopter. Not only can high-precision geographical data be recorded within a short space of time using the survey UAV Aibot X6, but it is also possible to create complete and seamless documentation of the current status of construction work. At any given moment, the UAV can give contractors an immediate overview of how building work is progressing, thus helping them to plan and control processes better.

Data Collected
Condition Based Monitoring, Electricity Meters, Infrastructure Condition, Operation Performance, Water Usage
Operational Impact
  • [Efficiency Improvement - Maintenance]
    The use of UAVs means that surveying and inspection tasks can now be combined more and more frequently.

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