List Your Equipment  /  Dealer Login  /  Create Account

NCDOT Awarded First-Ever Waiver for Drone Bridge Inspections

Mon October 05, 2020 - Southeast Edition
NCDOT


Drones are the N.C. Department of Transportation's newest tool in maintaining the safety of the state's bridges and other infrastructure.

The Federal Aviation Administration on Oct. 2 approved a waiver that allows NCDOT to operate unmanned aircraft systems beyond visual line of sight while conducting bridge inspections. This approval is part of North Carolina's participation in the FAA UAS Integration Pilot Program, which is focused on testing and enabling new innovative uses of drone technology.

The announcement makes NCDOT the first state transportation agency to have been awarded such a waiver, paving the way for other states to fully use drones in bridge and infrastructure inspections.

"We are pleased to be leading the way with this fantastic new tool," said North Carolina's Secretary of Transportation Eric Boyette. "Safety is our top priority at NCDOT, and this new system will enable us to complete inspections while better protecting our inspectors and the integrity of our bridges."

The waiver application was developed in part with Skydio, the largest U.S.-based drone maker. Skydio drones are powered by on-board artificial intelligence that enables each craft to avoid obstacles in complex areas that lack a reliable GPS signal, such as the trusses beneath bridges.

Ben Spain, the NCDOT's UAS program manager, said drones have been used since 2016 to conduct bridge inspections. But by enabling the drones to move beyond the pilot's line of sight, the inspections will be able to collect more high-resolution images in difficult to see places so inspectors can better analyze the bridge's integrity and identify possible problems.

"Inspectors will collect images using the drone instead of a snooper truck or having to suspend the inspector from the bridge," Spain added. "They'll be able to do these inspections quickly with minimal impacts to the traveling public, like not having to close lanes of traffic for as long."




Today's top stories

Kiewit Tackles Draining, Grading Issues On I-80 in California

President Joe Biden, U.S. Senator Rob Portman Receive ARTBA's Highest Honor

C.W. Matthews Expects to Complete $111M Phase 2 of Jackson County, Ga. Project in Coming Months

Boston Residents Brace for More Traffic From $157M Repairs to Sumner Tunnel

ConExpo-Con/AGG, IFPE Bring Success to Firms Globally

Officials in SW Florida Consider Redesign for 58-Year-Old Cape Coral Bridge

Sakai America Introduces New Hires

Trio of Bridges Undergoing Upgrade on U.S. Highway 4 in Canaan, N.H.


 






ceg-logo ceg-logo ceg-logo ceg-logo ceg-logo
39.04690 \\ -77.49030 \\ 50.243.58.82 \\ Ashburn \\ VA