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Drone technology at work at PSU

April 29, 2013 12:00AM

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The sun rises over Russ Hall in this photo shot by a drone piloted by university videographer Jacob Anselmi.

From iPlan Tables to 3-D printers, new technology is continuing to change the ways the construction industry operates. These technological innovations are making the industry safer and more efficient.

Lately, another type of new technology is finding its way into the construction business. Unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as  UAVs or drones, are being used to inspect high, hard-to-reach spots. In some cases, they even help move materials around the jobsite. Some have even experimented with drones as assemblers of structures.

If drones become common tools in the construction industry, Pittsburg State University students will be ready. The PSU School of Construction recently purchased a small drone to use in classroom projects and experiments. Bill Strenth, assistant professor of construction, said the PSU construction program remains in the early stages of the technology and is “still learning how it can be used.”

“Right now, we’re just experimenting with it and seeing what all it can do,” he said. “This is something that is making its way into the industry, and we want our students to have some exposure to that technology.”

Strenth said the use of drones in the construction industry has two main benefits: safety and convenience.

“They provide another set of eyes in places where it may not be real safe to put a person,” he said. “If we can use a drone to inspect a high place or a hard-to-reach area, it will help keep humans out of danger.”

Strenth also said the drones could also be used to take pictures of areas that have traditionally been difficult to reach.

The construction industry isn’t the only one that is making use of this new technology.

At PSU, the Marketing and Communication Office also uses a drone to capture aerial pictures and videos of university events, activities and the overall campus. Footage taken by the drone has already been used in some of the university YouTube videos.

“What we’re able to do with this new technology is capture photo and video footage that was previously unavailable to us,” Jacob Anselmi, PSU videographer, said. “It gives us an entirely new perspective of this beautiful campus and all that goes on here.”

Chris Kelly, associate vice president for marketing and communication, said the use of drones gives the office more options when it comes to developing news features and marketing pieces.

“This is just one more way we are striving to do our best to tell the story of Pittsburg State,” Kelly said. “There is so much that goes on here every day, and we want to capture those moments in every way possible. This technology opens up a whole new world of opportunities for us to shine a bright light on this unique institution.

©2013 Pittsburg State University