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Implementing Drone Technology As Part of Your Bridge Inspection Process

A rather hot topic of conversation across the United States in recent years has been the discussion of the overall condition of our aging infrastructure. To be a bit more precise, state, county, and local governments are extremely concerned about the quality and safety of the vast number of bridges that dot our rural landscape.

To put it in simple terms, everyone seems to be concerned about these bridges, but they also mention the fact of costs as they pertain to maintenance and inspections. Several bills have introduced in congress to try to fund such projects but problems still remain. And so do these bridges that need to be inspected.

Current Bridge Inspection Practices… Pros and Cons

In a 2015 research document from the Minnesota State Department of Transportation, the current practices for bridge inspections were detailed. Chapter 3 of that document explains some advantages and disadvantages of using AWP (Aerial Work Platforms) as the industry ‘norm’ for a standard bridge inspection.

“AWP is defined in the Code of Federal Regulations and includes a variety of equipment commonly referred to as under bridge inspection vehicles, snoopers, lifts, bucket-trucks. This equipment is the most common method for accessing difficult to reach areas of a bridge. Some advantages and disadvantages are listed below:”  (definition of AWP as it appeared in that 2015 Minnesota State DOT Research Document)

Aerial Work Platform Pros:

  1. The ability for the inspector to be at arms reach of every inspected bridge component.
  2. Availability of AWP’s
  3. Reliability of AWP’s
  4. Versatility of AWP’s

Aerial Work Platform Cons:

  1. Highly expensive to operate
  2. Safety of the inspector and public at large
  3. AWP may exceed weight restriction for bridge
  4. Requires lane closures
  5. Mobility issues with respect to time and costs
  6. Must be operated by qualified personnel and accompanied by additional staff members

The list of cons makes it all the more evident that by implementing drone technology as part of your bridge inspection process you can turn an otherwise expensive and tedious project into something that is faster, safer, and very cost effective.

This Is What Mile High Drones Can Do For Your Bridge Inspection Process

UAV’s (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) or drones as they are more commonly referred to, gives an inspector a vast array of benefits over the typical AWP. Drones can be so much more effective in the bridge inspection process. By utilizing the latest in infrared and imaging technology, the inspector can obtain video and a number of still photographs for the inspection report while maintaining his safety without being suspended in a bucket or on a rope.

Some key benefits of using UAV’s in bridge inspection programs include:

  1. The ability of using above and below mounted cameras for obtaining visuals at the optimum angle
  2. The ability to hover in place and take crystal clear video and still imagery
  3. The ability to navigate by GPS for a more precise flight mission

When you couple your inspection standards with the capabilities from Mile High Drones, you are offering your bridge customer a more comprehensive inspection package all at a price that will tend to be far less than they have anticipated.

Mile High Drones uses military trained pilots for their drone inspection missions and of course they are FAA compliant and 107 certified. Add to that their licensed and insurability and you have yourself a winning package for your next bridge inspection task.

Please feel free to contact us at Mile High Drones for all of your drone bridge inspection needs.

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