Bridge inspections are a critical part of the manufacturing and durability of any bridge. These inspections aim to identify any fault lines at an early stage. A significant fault can result in potentially losing human lives, trade, and daily transportation.
Knowing its importance, bridge inspections are mandatory twice yearly in the developed world. The traditional bridge inspection includes the usage of ladders, bucket trucks, looms, booms, or snoop tricks. These methods must ensure work safety, accuracy, economic viability, access to confined spaces, and AI-based analytics.
Using unnamed aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones for bridge inspection is time.
How are Drones Changing the Game in Bridge Inspections?
Drones provide accurate bridge inspections at a faster rate. Most modern drones are equipped with high-powered zoom lenses, lidar, thermal cameras, and laser range-finding payloads to collect required data for an inspector.
Moreover, with drones, you don’t need to block the traffic for several hours for routine inspections. This tiny friend of yours can inspect a bridge with minimal botheration.
Drones can also integrate AI-based inspection software, 3D imaging, and analytics to spot cracks, spalls, structural defects, delamination, rusting, and wear and tear. The chances of error are significantly lower than traditional methods. That’s why an increasing number of users are banking on drone inspections.
As they say, the proof is in the pudding. According to statistics, the worldwide bridge inspection market has been tipped to reach a valuation of US$ 118.0 million in 2023. In the next 10 years; it is expected to top US$ year 996.0 million with a CAGR of 21.4% by 2033. The technology is about to change the bridge inspection game on its head.
What Features Do Modern Drones Offer During Bridge Inspection?
So far, we have pointed towards statistical evidence supporting drones on unmanned aerial vehicles for bridge inspections. This section highlights the features which make drone inspections superior to traditional methods.
For any sustainable practice, safety should always be the priority. When it comes to traditional bridge inspections, work safety still remains a considerable concern.
Old methods require dangerous and expensive equipment with a larger on-site workforce. If you take the functioning of a snooper truck, which happens to be the most common equipment, it requires multi-jointed support and platforms to suspend workers under the bridge. It is hazardous on bridges with heavy traffic loads or fast-moving water currents.
On the contrary, drones don’t require human intervention or heavy accessories. Without worry, you can inspect any bridge with a two-man team consisting of a drone operator and a qualified inspector.
AI-Based Data Collection and Analytics
Drones utilise advanced AI techniques to collect information. They use imaging to create a 3-D replica of a bridge. An engineer can rotate, zoom, or change any view to inspect possible defects. With advanced analytics, you can also estimate the bridge’s current structural quality and useful life. This makes your inspection wholesome.
Faster Rate of Inspection
The drones outperform the traditional method in inspection time. The typical methods require the transportation of heavy lifts or snooper trucks, platforms, and a workforce with safety gear on the inspection site. This arrangement takes several hours. After that, you require multiple hours for a physical survey.
A drone can fly in minutes and start performing its task. It can cover the entire area at a rapid pace with no human error. A typical drone inspection only requires one hour. That means you can perform better with minimal time consumption.
Access to all angles
Accessing narrow places at acute angles is a big challenge in any physical bridge inspection. It is also difficult to observe the underside of a bridge. Traditional methods often need help finding defects in inaccessible places.
A drone can capture a bridge from all angles. You can use a drone with a top-mounted camera to get pictures of the underside of a bridge. This access results in a comprehensive analysis.
Reduction in Inspection Costs
Drones are an economically viable solution. A typical bridge inspection costs 4,500 to 10,000 USD per bridge. This estimation includes the equipment cost, labour, lane stoppage, and traffic closure. With drones, you can drop this cost by about 75%. With less time required for inspection, you can cover more bridges at a considerably lower price. Sounds Cool, doesn’t it?
Bridge inspections are critical for analysing a bridge’s current condition, structure strength, probable defects, and durability. Thanks to their latest technology, drones provide the most accurate, economically viable bridge inspection within a short time frame. They also offer integrated AI software for advanced 3-D analytics. You only require a drone pilot and seasoned observer to carry out the job.
GIS drones provide cutting-edge aerial flying services across the UAE. Our experienced team can inspect any bridge around the region as per globally accepted international standards. Contact us for any queries related to drone inspection of a bridge or any commercial/residential building.