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Intel Showcases Drones for Bridge Inspections

Construction & Mining

Intel Showcases Drones for Bridge Inspections

Bridges connect people cultures and form the lifeline of connectivity the world over. Upkeep of bridges is necessary but can be quite a cumbersome task being high risk that costs several man hours too. Now Intel is using Falcon 8 drones to supplement manual bridge inspections across the US.

More than 600,000 bridges are in the U.S., and nearly 10 percent of them are currently rated structurally deficient or obsolete. Traditional inspection methods obstruct daily traffic patterns with road closures, rely on manual labour that doesn’t always capture accurate data for proper rehabilitation assessment and can be prohibitively expensive to publicly funded sources too.

What’s New: Intel collaborated with two departments of transportation to improve bridge inspections, supplementing manual inspections of the Daniel Carter Beard Bridge connecting Ohio and Kentucky and the Stone Arch Bridge in Minnesota.

“With bridges worldwide experiencing undetected structural issues due to inefficient inspection and monitoring processes and unreliable data for rehabilitation, it is critical to address this real-world concern of transportation safety with impactful commercial drone applications. Intel’s comprehensive drone solutions not only improve speed and accuracy through increasing automation of existing workflows, but also reduce safety risks and providing engineers and transportation bureaus with more reliable, actionable insights for future planning and safety assessments,” said Anil Nanduri, Intel vice president and general manager, drone team.

How It Works

In collaboration with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Michael Baker International, Intel used its drone technology to help inspect and analyze the Daniel Carter Beard Bridge. It is an eight-lane interstate that crosses the Ohio River with approximately 100,000 vehicles crossing it daily. So lane closures can result in costly delays.

  • Automated inspection with Intel® drone technology enabled the bridge to remain open and fully functional while the team completed the assignment.
  • The Intel drone captured about 2,500 high-resolution aerial images generating 22GB of data that was uploaded into the Intel® Insight Platform.
  • Using the images, a 3D model – or a digital twin of the structure – was generated to aid with analyses and visualization in the future.

Separately, working with the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Collins Engineers, Intel and its commercial drone technology helped expedite an inspection of the iconic Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis.

Due to the complex nature of the Stone Arch Bridge’s structure, its aging masonry and a fractured steel span of this bridge it needs to be inspected by officials annually.  By incorporating Intel technology, MnDOT and Collins Engineers work hours got reduced by 28% and inspection cost savings of approximately 40%.

What’s Different

The Intel® Falcon™ 8+ drone is sturdy and performs despite windy conditions or electromagnetic interference. The advanced flight system provides safe, scalable access to hard-to-reach locations, reducing the need for risky hands-on methods such as rope access.

Intel’s advanced automated commercial drone hardware and software solutions not only increased efficiency and produced more reliable data but also achieved this in much lesser time and cost than conventional methods.

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