Monday, March 6, 2017

Alaska Surveying and Mapping Conference

Michael Baker International recently participated in the 51st annual Alaska Surveying and Mapping Conference held in Anchorage from February 13-17. As the premier geospatial conference in Alaska, Michael Baker enhanced our participation as a Silver Sponsor for the annual event. Building upon recent aerial missions in Alaska Michael Baker team members Dr. Srini Dharmapuri (LiDAR Scientist) and Con Sweeney (GIS Manger) delivered a presentation focusing on the “Challenges and professional solutions for UAS”.


Michael Baker was an early adopter of UAS technology nearly 3 years ago, and currently maintains one of the largest fleet of UAS aircraft including fixed wing (PrecisionHawk), numerous DJI VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) aircraft, and a Falcon 8 VTOL inspection configuration equipped with both high resolution imagery and Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) technology. Michael Baker’s clients capitalize on our national expertise at the local level by leveraging our pool of 24+ commercial and Part 107 pilots spread across the country, including those stationed in Alaska to meet local UAS demands.

Dr. Srini Dharmapuri is pictured in the Michael Baker International booth with Mireya Armesto of our Anchorage office.
 

Friday, March 3, 2017

In the News...

Michael Baker's very own Kevin Pomaski (UAS Services Director), is highlighted in a recent Nevada DOT video discussing the deployment of UAS to perform emergency assessments of road damage due to recent flooding.

 

The imagery captured during the collection was converted into colorized point clouds during post-processing. We have published them using Potree. (The interactive point cloud is supported in Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.)

 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

We're on Instagram

The Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) team is now on Instagram!  Our flight operations teams are going to post pictures to show off some of our work.

A photo posted by Michael Baker Intl UAS (@michaelbakeruas) on

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Monitoring Heat Loss and Thermal Leakage for Customers

Michael Baker International has expanded its cutting-edge inspection services with the purchase of a Topcon Falcon 8 unmanned aircraft system (UAS). The new Falcon 8 joins the company’s growing UAS fleet, and offers a new perspective for Michael Baker pilots to achieve highly precise aerial imagery and mapping during the inspection of infrastructure elements for customers.

Combined with Michael Baker’s mobile and static Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) systems for data collection, the integration of this new UAS creates a safer, more intricate solution for inspection and mapping. By utilizing the system’s flight stability and high-resolution 32-megapixel digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera, Michael Baker pilots can capture more precise imaging and video in tight spaces, challenging environments and windy situations. The rotary-wing UAS features eight rotors, three individual inertial measurement units (IMU) to calculate and fix the device’s position, fully automated flight routes in both two- and three-dimensions, precise structure analysis and damage detection, and maximum safety with triple redundancy. Operating as a two-person team, Michael Baker inspectors—one piloting the flight and the other using 3D goggles for a First Person View (FPV)—can establish unprecedented viewpoints for data capturing imagery.

Additionally, the Falcon 8’s integrated thermal camera creates new service offerings for Michael Baker’s clients as the company can monitor for heat loss and thermal leakage in concrete and pipeline inspections, and conduct heat surveys of buildings looking to achieve LEED certification.

“Michael Baker has an extensive history of performing inspections, having literally written the book on bridge inspection training for the Federal Highway Administration. As new technologies have emerged, including UAS, the company has been at the forefront of adopting and incorporating those practices into our existing capabilities to enhance our full continuum of innovative solutions,” said Robert Hanson, senior vice president and market leader for Michael Baker’s Geospatial Practice. “With the purchase of the Falcon 8 UAS, Michael Baker is now one of seven firms in North America to use this system, which allows us to offer an advanced, highly-engineered inspection solution for engineering projects.”

Michael Baker is deploying the new UAS as part of two new contract wins: a statewide contract from the Nevada Department of Transportation for digital aerial imagery and video, and/or other remotely sensed data; and a task order with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation for determining the feasibility for use of UAS in bridge inspections and bridge inspection procedures. Additionally, the company will use the system across multiple markets for a host of structural inspection projects, including bridges, buildings, towers, water control systems and retaining walls, among others.

Michael Baker has a prestigious 76-year history of conducting bridge and infrastructure inspections, including more than 25 years of inspection training for the Federal Highway Administration. The company is also one of the first in the engineering industry to receive certification from the Federal Aviation Administration to operate several types of fixed-wing and vertical take-off and landing UAS.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Company Enhances Inspection and Data Mapping Services with New Addition to Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Fleet

Michael Baker International expanded its cutting-edge inspection services with the purchase of a Topcon Falcon 8 unmanned aircraft system (UAS). The new Falcon 8 joins the company’s growing UAS fleet and allows Michael Baker pilots to capture highly precise aerial imagery and mapping during the inspection of infrastructure for clients.


Michael Baker used the new UAS to inspect the Liberty Bridge in Pittsburgh.

Features of the new Falcon 8:
  • Combined with Michael Baker’s mobile and static Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) systems for data collection, the integration of this new UAS creates an even safer, more sophisticated solution for inspection and mapping.
  • Pilots can capture more-precise imaging and video in tight spaces, challenging environments and windy situations by utilizing the system’s flight stability and high-resolution, 32-megapixel digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera.
  • The rotary-wing UAS features: eight rotors; three individual inertial measurement units (IMU) to calculate and fix the device’s position; fully automated flight routes in both two- and three-dimensions; precise structure analysis and damage detection; and maximum safety with triple redundancy.
  • Operating as a two-person team, Michael Baker inspectors—one piloting the flight and the other using 3D goggles for a First Person View (FPV)—can establish unprecedented viewpoints for data-capturing imagery.
  • The Falcon 8’s integrated thermal camera can monitor for heat loss and thermal leakage in concrete and pipeline inspections and conduct heat surveys of buildings for clients looking to achieve LEED certification.
“Michael Baker has an extensive history of performing inspections, having literally written the book on bridge inspection training for the Federal Highway Administration,” said Robert Hanson, senior vice president and market leader for Michael Baker’s Geospatial Practice. "As new technologies have emerged, including UAS, the company has been at the forefront of adopting and incorporating those practices into our existing capabilities to enhance our full continuum of innovative solutions. With the purchase of the Falcon 8 UAS, Michael Baker now is one of seven firms in North America to use this system, which allows us to offer an advanced, highly-engineered inspection solution for engineering projects.”
 
Michael Baker is deploying the new UAS as part of two new contract wins: a statewide contract from the Nevada Department of Transportation for digital aerial imagery and video, and/or other remotely sensed data; and a task order with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation for determining the feasibility for use of UAS in bridge inspections and bridge inspection procedures. Additionally, the company will use the system across multiple markets for a host of structural inspection projects, including bridges, buildings, towers, water control systems and retaining walls, among others.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

We have our FAA authorization...Press release to follow!

Michael Baker received its FAA authorization for our small fleet of UAS. Official press release to follow!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Michael Baker Files its Sec 333 Exemption/Rulemaking Request with the FAA

On March 26th Michael Baker filed with the FAA for permission to fly Its UAS fleet for commercial Operations.


This is a process, and does not happen overnight. However, to operate legally in the US three things are required.
  1. Submission (and grant of approval) of a section 333 exemption/rule making request. This is where one asks the FAA to waive some existing requirements that technically do not pertain to UAS. Basic things such as the size of the "N" number (Identifier) applied to the UAS. The current rule states a size that works with traditional aircraft. However, it does not work with the smaller size of the typical UAS. An exemption is needed. There are many identified regulations that require exemption and as such relief must be granted.
  2. Registration of the UAS. This process requires submitting for an "N" number and registering the UAS. This entails identifying the specific aircraft (or UAS) Make, Model, Serial # and ownership records.
  3. Identification of a licensed pilot to operate as your pilot in command (PIC). While the requirement has been lowered from a commercial pilot to a sport pilot, a pilots license is required.
Approval from the FAA is taking 4 to 6 months currently. Michael Baker expects approval in early July. In the meantime we are testing, training and developing the processes and workflows to support our UAS team.