Worcestershire County Council in the United Kingdom has launched a trial of drones equipped with cameras to inspect the integrity of the county's 1,500 bridges.
The uncrewed aircraft are flown by a certified drone pilot while an inspector examines the drone images. The trial aims to increase efficiency in maintaining the bridges, reducing the number of closures, and minimizing inconveniences for residents and businesses.
Councillor Mike Rouse explained that using drones could help get the maximum value from the council's budget.
According to the council, it is still too early to tell whether using drones for bridge inspections will lead to cost savings. However, if successful, the drones could revolutionize the way bridge inspections are conducted, making the process safer and more efficient.
Bridge inspections with DJI M300 drones
The trial is being conducted to ensure that the collected information meets the UK's requirements for bridge inspections. The use of drones could also reduce the need for manual inspections and make the process safer for inspectors.
Councillor Rouse emphasized the importance of maintaining the county's bridges and ensuring that they are safe for drivers and rail passengers.
“We have about 1,500 bridge structures across the county, and if we need to close them, residents and businesses are all inconvenienced,” he said.
The use of drones in bridge inspections is a growing trend worldwide. Drones equipped with cameras and sensors can capture high-quality images and data that can help inspectors identify potential issues with bridge structures. By using drones, inspections can be conducted more quickly and efficiently, reducing costs and minimizing disruptions.
The trial in Worcestershire is an exciting development in using drones for infrastructure inspections. Using drones for bridge inspections has the potential to revolutionize the way infrastructure inspections are conducted, making them safer, more efficient, and more cost-effective.
While the trial is still in its early stages, the council is hopeful that using drones will lead to increased efficiency and cost savings. If successful, using drones for bridge inspections could become a standard practice in infrastructure maintenance, ensuring the safety and integrity of bridges for years to come.
The photos show a modified DJI Matrice 300 or M300 drone with a camera and gimbal mounted on top of the unmanned aircraft to inspect the bridges.
Photos courtesy of Worcestershire County Council.
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