The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) announced Monday that it will be using light detection and ranging (LiDAR) to improve road construction efficiency and safety around the state.
LiDAR determines ranges or distances by targeting an object with a laser and then measuring the time for the reflected light to return to the receiver. The technology does this process millions of times per second to generate data on the area measured. That data is then converted into a 3D model of what was measured.
MDOT said it had purchased LiDAR drones to add to its fleet of vehicles that use LiDAR to take measurements and map out road construction projects. Mississippi is one of the first states in the southeast to use LiDAR drone technology in state transportation work, the department said.
The drones allow MDOT workers to perform their fieldwork much faster than traditional measuring tools. The technology also increases safety for MDOT workers, greatly reducing their time on the job near or in moving traffic.
LiDAR drones played a significant role in the slide repair construction of State Route 26 recently, the department said. Completed in five weeks, that project included the complete reconstruction of the roadbed and 300 feet of highway.