A New UAV-based Module Lifting and Transporting Method: Advantages and Challenges

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Proceedings of the International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction


2019 Modular and Offsite Construction Summit/ University of Alberta



First page number:


Last page number:



The modular construction technique is the one key technology that can substantially advance the competitiveness of the construction industry. However, the industry is having difficulty creating an optimum environment for broader and more effective use of modularization due to one key barrier: implementing a modular construction technique, that is, shipping modules from the fabrication shop to the build site. Multiple issues are potentially challenging to overcome, such as module size and center of gravity, rigging, tie-down, site access, site congestion, and transportation regulations, as well as the availability of local heavy lift equipment. The researchers propose to implement drones as a way to address module transportation challenges and innovative logistics of modules. The primary research objectives are to innovate logistics with a new drone-based module lifting/transporting method, consisting of a drone lifting/transporting a module from below, similar to a pallet. In this paper, the researchers present key challenges and potential advantages, which have been identified from a manual test flight of the new method, with a drone lifting/transporting an acrylic cube box from below. The key challenges identified from the manual test flight are 1) limited payload, 2) limited power supply, 3) dynamic properties of a module; 4) agility/instability of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), and 5) regulations. Through the use of the dronebased module method, the researchers expect that lifting/transporting times and costs can be significantly reduced, eventually diminishing total installation costs, and expediting the overall construction process. This study will lead to the development of a drone-based module transportation framework for practitioners in the construction industry.


Modular Construction; Modularization; UAS; Drone; Logistics; Module transportation; Lifting


Civil and Environmental Engineering | Engineering



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