Bridge Inspection using Drones.

Traditional bridge inspection methods can be dangerous, costly and time-consuming, obstructing daily traffic patterns with road closures, while creating extra hardship for those that use the bridge for their daily income, and relying on manual labor that doesn’t always capture accurate data for proper rehabilitation assessment.

A Bridge is an essential transportation structure that offers unique solutions for road and rail traffic to cross rivers, gorges and difficult ground conditions or for reducing conflict points in the transportation system by carrying one mode of traffic over the other. Due to its pronounced economic importance to the society, bridge inspection is paramount because accurate and intimate knowledge of bridge conditions allow for effective maintenance, repair and replacement activities.

It’s important to monitor existing deterioration of a structure to prepare for a repair and prevent failure of a member, and loss of service or worse. Rope access inspection can be supplemented with UAVs (drones) to make inspection faster, cheaper, more efficient and safer. A typical bridge inspection, especially something complex like The Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos, Nigeria which is a 3 lanes independent dual carriageway structure with a median separator.

Aerial view of Third-Mainland-Bridge

It requires a lot of man-hours, hands on inspection, takes a lot of time, which translates to a lot of capital cost. It’s not that automation will reduce the work for us since personnel still have to be sent to fix the problem, but it would increase efficiency, safety, and accuracy; to know when, where to fix and how to fix, creating enough time to work on the real problem.

The use of drone speeds up the inspection process, we are able to cover the whole bridge in a much shorter amount of time. An important feature of a commercial drone is its ability to withstand high winds, interchangeable payloads, taking very high detailed images.

Drone inspecting inner section of a bridge
Drone inspecting inner section of a Bridge.

The images that are taken with the drones from the automated mission can be used to create a model of the structure, which will be very useful to the client for decision making. Digital asset management with a drone will be key going into the future, because we can overlap short changes over time.

It will be easier to track changes over time. If data is collected today and the same is done in 3 years, 5 years, and 10 years, these models can be put together to help program funds for the future, so that taxpayers money and our time can be used more efficiently.

 Streamlining the process for taking data and delivering it into something that’s consumable, that will transform the industry as it is already doing. This is the power of technology and for us at Beat Drone, using our software and hardware solutions we can help to increase safety and efficiency of Bridge inspection so as to produce more reliable data in the fraction of time and cost of traditional methods.

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