Drone Bridge Inspections
Deliver successful projects with a drone bridge inspection
one technology has changed the world as we know it. Many tasks that were traditionally performed by hand are now carried out by drone operators.
Using drones for operations such as asset and bridge inspections is becoming increasingly commonplace. With the ability to rapidly and safely inspect structures of any size, drones are the obvious choice for routine infrastructure maintenance.
What are Drone Bridge Inspections?
A drone bridge inspection is a type of asset inspection that uses drone technology to capture data about bridges.
Bridges are major pieces of infrastructure in many cities. They’re used by humans, cars, trucks, trains and more, so it’s critical that bridges are well-maintained. The challenge is the sheer size of most bridges. Maintaining large structures is a never-ending task, and managing maintenance and repair requirements is tricky.
Traditionally, bridges were climbed and inspected manually. Inspectors would search for signs of wear and tear, such as rust, loose joints and metal fatigue. If an issue was found, the bridge would need to be repaired.
With drones, this entire process is much shorter. Drones can access bridges of any shape or size. In just a few minutes, a drone pilot can collect detailed imagery and 3D models that help asset owners to plan maintenance requirements.
Types of Data Provided by Drone Bridge Inspections
Drone platforms are highly prized for their ability to capture detailed information. When performing asset inspections, this data is typically presented in one of two ways:
High fidelity imagery – Most drone platforms are equipped with high definition cameras. These capture still images and videos that can be inspected for signs of wear and tear to a bridge. Images can be stitched together to provide a complete picture of the bridge, or components thereof.
3D models – LiDAR technology allows drones to capture detailed data about a bridge that can be automatically transformed in a 3D model. These detailed models are ideal for monitoring movement, checking for damage and managing deformation over time.
The information provided by drones is automatically processed by sophisticated software. It’s then presented to the asset owner to interpret the data and plan repair or maintenance works.
The major benefit of the 3D models produced by drones is that they can be compared to previous models. With modern drones providing millimetre-accuracy, these 3D models are ideal for monitoring changes over time without the need for painstaking, manual measurements.
The Benefits of Using Drones for Bridge Inspections
Using drones to perform bridge and asset inspections is a great way to streamline your processes, reduce costs and improve safety. Engaging a drone service provider offers five major benefits:
Collect comprehensive data – Drones can be equipped with a wide range of cameras and sensors. This makes them capable of collecting any data you require. From images and videos to 3D models, drones can provide a full picture of any asset.
Improved safety – Inspecting tall assets like bridges poses a serious risk to workers and road users. With drones, inspectors can keep their feet firmly planted on the ground. This results in better safety standards without impacting the quality of the results.
Short inspection times – Operators can deploy their drones and collect comprehensive bridge data in a matter of minutes. This is much faster than manual inspections, which often took hours or days to complete.
Minimise inspection costs – Reducing the labour and time involved in bridge inspections dramatically reduces the cost. For clients managing a large portfolio of infrastructure assets, these savings add up quickly.
Automated processes – Drones can be used to automate regular bridge inspections. For infrastructure that needs to be inspected at regular intervals, the data provided by a drone inspection can be automatically checked against the previous model. This makes it easy to detect problems while streamlining the process.
Factors that Affect the Use of Drones for Bridge Inspections
While drones are an excellent solution for managing assets such as bridges, the technology comes with a few limitations. Bridge inspections need to take into account:
Regulatory requirements – CASA is responsible for overseeing the safe use of drones. In most cases, drones must be operated within visual line of sight, and they must be kept away from people other than the operator. This can create a challenge when inspecting public bridges.
Weather conditions – Excessive wind, poor visibility and conditions like rain or storms can prevent drone operators from inspecting bridges. Missions may need to be postponed on days with poor weather, but this is true for manual inspections too.
Bridge design – Drones are suitable for inspecting all kinds of bridges. Some drones are even capable of accessing enclosed spaces. These types of challenges need to be identified while planning the mission to ensure the service provider has the correct equipment.
Obstructions – Nearby trees, buildings and other structures can prevent a drone from capturing detailed imagery of infrastructure. These obstructions may need to be removed, or certain parts of the bridge may need to be manually inspected.
The major requirement for drone inspections is the need for a qualified operator. Drones must be flown by licensed pilots. Because there is some risk to property and people using the bridge, inspectors must also be operating under a Remote Operator’s Certificate (ReOC).
You can avoid the hassle of worrying about these issues by contracting a third-party service provider. Drone service providers handle all regulatory and mission planning requirements. They deliver the data you need while managing any limitations or restrictions.
Manage Your Assets with Drone Bridge Inspections from Advanced Aerial Solutions!
Drones are the perfect solution for inspecting and managing a wide range of infrastructure. The freedom to go almost anywhere means drones can be used to inspect bridges, roads, railways, stockpiles, power lines and much more. If you need critical data about your assets, Advanced Aerial Solutions can help!
Advanced Aerial Solutions is a drone service provider based in Brisbane. We offer asset and bridge inspections that can help you unlock new insights about your portfolio. Our operators have decades of experience, and our state-of-the-art fleet allows us to provide high quality data under any conditions.
Get in touch with us for a quote. Drone asset inspections are tailored to your individual needs, and we’re always happy to discuss your project requirements.