How Osborne used drone data to accurately monitor progress remotely 

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As part of the government’s £15.2bn road investment strategy, Highways England are developing a scheme which will require Osborne to improve the junctions along the A46 in Coventry. To support the project, Osborne needs a highly accurate digital model of the site as a way of remotely monitoring progress and capturing data. The model needs to be supplemented with monthly drone scan updates.

The challenges


1. The team needs a fast and accurate way to track progress

Osborne are looking for a simple and transparent way to accurately track progress updates. Given the large size of the area, it would have taken a team up to 5 weeks to digitise the site manually, by which point the data would be out of date.

2. It’s difficult and dangerous to access the site

Due to the dangers presented by the live highway, traditional methods of monitoring progress would require Osborne to implement traffic management systems and road closures. This creates thousands of pounds of added costs and is disruptive to the public.

3. The site sits within restricted air space controlled by Coventry Air Traffic Control

The A46 Coventry Junction Upgrade sits in the middle of restricted air space controlled by Coventry Air Traffic Control, which would normally prohibit any drone flying over the asset.  Whilst permission was granted, flying time was restricted to pre 9am. Operating drones 500 meters away from the pilot, as required by law, would make it impossible to scan the entire project in one go.

4. It’s impossible to visualise and combine different datasets
The team wants to integrate various data sets into a 3D digital twin.

"Sensat are a real game changer. Their data and visualisation platform has has aided our visual clash detection and planning, significantly reducing the time taken in the process. It has also made tying our survey and design data together a breeze" 

Ian Holden, Head of Construction at Osborne

The solution

Utilising fixed-wing drones, Sensat safely captured the required data in 2 hours without implementing traffic management systems or road closures. Sensat’s drone solution meant the data could be collected for progress monitoring quickly, remotely, and without putting boots on the ground. 


Having digitised Heathrow airport in 2019, Sensat has an outstanding working relationship with the Civil Aviation Authority and as such was granted permission to fly over the asset and in Coventry Air Traffic Control Airspace. Sensat’s unique EVLOS (extended visual line of sight) exemption, which enables drone flight up to 1.5km from the pilot, meant that the data could be captured in 1 flight—before the 9 am deadline imposed by ATC.


Sensat is completing monthly scans of the site to ensure Osborne has an accurate record of project progress. The data from the scans can be delivered to the client in a number of days, reducing the turnaround time by 5 weeks.

The collected data is hosted on Sensat’s cloud-based visualisation platform. Stakeholders are now able to access the site remotely, from anywhere in the world on any device. Through Sensat, teams can now also visually combine different data sets in their real-world environment to accurately track and monitor progress. 

Point cloud hosted on Sensat's cloud-based visualisation platform.


The resulting digital twin, captured faster and safer than traditional means, provided Osborne with the visibility and insight they needed to accurately monitor progress entirely remotely. Sensat are continuing to provide monthly scans of the area until the project is completed.


With remote working becoming more pertinent than ever, it is no doubt that many construction sites around the country could benefit from this technology to keep moving forward. 

Want to learn more on how to utilise Sensat for remote work? 

Download the full case study below:


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