Robotic Technology That Can Help Save Our Infrastructure!
How Can Bridge Inspection Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Useful For The Infrastructure?April 27th, 2018 Author: Doug Thaler
The primacy of technical superiority of drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles is well-known. Their use in countless activities is very impressive. Experts use them in round the clock monitoring of traffic movements. Intelligence agencies of many countries use drones for aerial espionage on territory of a target nation. In fact, drones also serve their covert operations in counter-intelligence.
In truth, the small yet powerful technology is designed to accomplish most of the tasks successfully.
Now we see the utility of drone inspection for bridges. The reason is drones streamline collection of valuable details about a bridge. Inspectors conducting an inspection get reliable benefits through this technology. A drone employed to inspect the bridge fetches infrared and 3-D modeling data of the infrastructure. It generates compelling details about topographic mapping and delamination of the property. Inspectors get to know about upstream and downstream mapping of riverbank near the “drone-surveyed”bridge site.
One can only imagine the extent of enormous infrastructure loss that the absence of bridge inspection using dedicated drones would invite!
As a matter of fact – UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) are crucial machines. As a part of robotic technology, they simplify safer inspection of infrastructure assets for the right type of job. The information they provide can lead to long-term preservation of the assets by locating issues early.
Sophisticated drones accurately determine structural conditions of a bridge on the surface by visual means and with lidar. They can be hovered underneath the bridge to fetch helpful details in places that are hard to get to and in some cases never get inspected. Equipped with ultrasonic sensors and powerful cameras, modern drones can intuitively gather pictorial details and information about the bridge, helping inspectors to determine the exact condition of the infrastructure, as to whether it requires repair due to the extent of damage shown. Basically, Drone Inspections For Bridges eliminates any inconclusive reasoning that would lead to not inspecting a component of the bridge because it is too far away or too expensive and inconvenient to close a lane and rent a snooper truck. The purpose behind deployment of drone is to ensure safety of the infrastructure and the safety of the inspectors and traveling public.
can be an efficient help for handling both fracture critical and special bridge inspections, considering the technology eliminates unnecessary fear for loss of human resource in case of any eventuality when the inspection is conducted via rope access by inspectors in order to detect any foreseeable damage or structural fault in the bridge.
Even though under-bridge inspection vehicles like snoopers are employed to carry out bridge inspections, there is no denying the fact that such deployment necessitates lots of coordination pertaining to traffic management at bridge site, resulting in an undeniable risk for the inspectors. Moreover, such labor-intensive task can pile financial pressure on the company, thus prompting them to seek a viable alternative. UAS inspection is that viable alternative that results in constructive details helpful for a thorough inspection, plus drone inspections for bridge alleviates exorbitant costs on labors.
Drones are small yet sophisticated technologies used to gather substantial details about a bridge leading to its complete, necessary, and reliable inspection which is both safe and cost-effective.
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) made a great deal of research on drones for bridge inspections in 2008. The team developed electric-operated Aerobot, but the twin-motored drone underwent implementation issue and so couldn’t be officially deployed. However, it exemplified growing necessity of drones as an unmistakable tool to carry out drone inspection for bridges.
Conclusively, bridge inspection using drones can quantify benefits in terms of eliminating labor costs, manual inspection and risks involved, as well as expediting the process for reliable details leading to safer and risk-free inspection of a precious infrastructure.
Infrastructure Preservation Corporation, IPC is a nondestructive testing and robotic engineering company specializing in transportation infrastructure. An early adopter of drone technology, IPC quickly realized a better, more accurate solution would be needed to properly assess the infrastructure. In 2009 they developed the first robotic services that are more accurate and provide more detailed information than drones alone. Drones are a great “tool” in the inspectors toolbox says Doug Thaler of IPC. “Drones have their place for hard to reach places and special inspections but for real quantitative data, I prefer the nondestructive testing robotics that are much more accurate and provide better information for the department of transportation to more accurately allocate assets and keep our infrastructure safe.” IPC continues to use drones but out of line of site of the traveling public.