One evening in 2012, Civiltech’s Adam Wuellner settled in to watch the sci-fi film, Prometheus. 普罗米修斯飞船的机组人员释放了小, spherical “pups” to explore the network of tunnels on an alien planet which allowed the crew to construct a 3D model of the cavern seized Adam’s imagination and interest.

. . . And from that inspiration, Civiltech’s concept of a drone program was born.

Adam researched further and learned that drone technology was already starting to be used for mapping and photography. 他开始和同事们讨论这个想法, and Civiltech began to entertain the idea of drone usage and opportunities. 在那个时候, 然而, 联邦法规禁止使用无人机, 这个想法仍然只是一个想法.

四年后,无人机在社会上变得越来越普遍. 曾经被归入自己造直升机的业余爱好者, 现在已经有了可以起飞的模型. The FAA had been ordered by Congress to integrate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the national airspace. 美国交通部公布了“小型无人机”规则, 也被称为107部分, 谁提供了第一个国家, uniform guidelines for commercial operation of unmanned aircraft systems under 55 pounds. With these new regulations and after some initial test flights with John Breitsameter and his personal drone, 民用科技公司的无人机项目起飞了.


Three members of the Civiltech team chose to obtain commercial drone licenses. Adam was an enthusiastic participant due to his initial interest and research. 欧内斯特•威廉姆斯, 民用技术公司芝加哥办事处的一名现场技术员, already had experience flying drones and was interested in how they could be utilized for construction documentation. Eric Hodek, Civiltech’s graphic designer, chose to participate for the photographic opportunities. He was excited with the idea that a drone essentially provided a “400 foot ladder.”

赢得他们的翅膀, the team participated in a pilot exam prep course through the Northwestern Center for Public Safety. Each then 太k the exam, and all three are now licensed to fly drones up to 55 pounds. After receiving their licenses, Adam and Eric still had to learn how to fly. 然而, 亚当说这并不难掌握, 因为控制是直观的,类似于电子游戏. 也, Civiltech’s drone has obstacle avoidance and GPS, making flight incredibly stable. 埃里克和欧内斯特还上了无人机摄影课. Eric enjoys capturing a variety of perspectives only available through the use of a drone. 他说:“即使在25英尺的高空,你也能看到非常酷的视角.”


目前, Civiltech’s drone is primarily used for photography and marketing purposes, such as studying the existing conditions of a potential project or capturing a background for a rendering. 此外,完成的项目可以被拍照和记录. This is especially beneficial on large infrastructure projects where new geometrics are far easier to visualize from a birds-eye view.

The Civiltech team is actively exploring potential future uses such as surveying and creating deliverables like 3D models, 地形图纸, 或2 d地图. 无人机允许民用科技公司进行空中测绘, with overall images created by mosaics that are geo-referenced and accurately placed, 在某些情况下,取代了雇用摄影测量师的需要. Aerial images can be continuously updated at very low cost, keeping maps current.

The sudden ability to quickly collect photographs of a construction site and process them into seamless orthomosaics and 3D surface models has caught the attention of Civiltech’s 建筑工程 department, 太. A pilot program is underway to monitor one of our larger construction projects, gathering bimonthly data to evaluate its fitness for a variety of purposes.


One of the primary challenges the team has had to overcome is the prohibition from flying inside controlled airspace. 我们的大部分客户都在芝加哥地区, project sites are often very near an airport surrounded by controlled airspace. 埃里克在出去拍照前解释了这一点, 他研究了他想要拍摄的区域, 选择发布网站, 和评论的障碍. Project sites can often include a road, bridge, or intersection in a busy area. 然而,规定禁止飞机直接飞越人群或现场交通. Our drone pilots must exercise caution when determining when and where to fly the drone.

The drone can be difficult to see, since it is small, white, and up to 400 feet in the air. Regulations state that the drone must remain in the visual line of sight of the operator at all times. Since the pilot needs to look back and forth between the drone and its controls, 第二组眼睛作为视觉观察者经常会派上用场.

最后,无人机驾驶有时会引起意外或不必要的注意. Eric found himself in a question and answer session with a group of grandparents who were unsure of the device. 不像他们的孙子,他们知道那是什么. Adam once found himself answering to a security guard at a steel mill concerned about his activities and intentions.


While Civiltech continues to grow the drone program and explore its potential uses, 我们已经享受了令人兴奋的成功. 作为我们正在进行的北湖湖滨大道一期研究的一部分, 我们能够在项目限制内监视变更, 比如富勒顿大道的湖上剧院的整修. 也, the drone photography has provided the opportunity to create exciting graphics for marketing proposals. 我们的无人机项目也有利于社区拓展. The Transportation Research Board of the FHWA had previously identified that birds-eye views are more effective at communicating improvements to the public than ground views.


But photography, mapping, 3D-modeling, and construction monitoring aside, drones are fun! 去年四月带孩子上班日, Civiltech enjoyed watching our little guests fly drones up and down our hallways. 等这些小工程师长大了, 无人机将会很普遍,或者已经被一些新的无人机取代, 令人兴奋的技术, 就像普罗米修斯的幼崽一样. 但是现在, Civiltech努力保持在技术的前沿, 探索我们的无人机项目对客户有益的所有方式.