Use Cases Infrastructure Inspection

Infrastructure Inspection

Infrastructure inspection aims to automate or remotely perform inspection on infrastructure that would have otherwise been manually done in a safer and more cost-efficient manner. These inspections can be part of routine inspections or repairs. Using drones equiped with cameras, inspections can be done more cheaply and more safely than having trained repair teams go to the site to conduct manual inspections, while coordinating with shut down schedules. Machine vision, LIDAR, and other image gathering and image recognition technologies are used to generate models of the infrastructure. Auto-navigation and guiding systems are used guide the unmanned vehicles, especially under bridges or in tunnels where GPS coverage can be limited. Usually infrastructure inspection is combined with condition monitoring systems that send alerts when a specific fault is detected.

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What is the business value of this IoT use case and how is it measured?
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Drones make inspections easier and cheaper without disturbing daily traffic. Traditionally, bridge inspections were done with the help of “snooper trucks” – vehicles with a flexible crane to move an inspection engineer alongside and underneath the bridges. The vehicles are expensive to buy and costly to maintain. They also cause massive road obstructions so signs need to be erected and staff allocated to direct trafc – in many cases the bridge must be closed down completely for inspections that can take hours. Consequently, the work was often conducted at night, which made it even harder to detect problems. Using inspection drones allows inspection during daytime hours without causing any disruption. Instead of needing a team of seven to 10 specialists, a bridge can now be inspected by two staff, and in much less time.

Who is involved in purchasing decisions, and who are the primary system users?
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Asset Owners: Asset owners prioritize infrastructure inspection to protect their investments, minimize operational disruptions, and uphold public safety. They rely on inspection reports and recommendations to make informed decisions about asset maintenance, repair, and replacement, ensuring the long-term viability of critical infrastructure.

Engineers and Inspectors: Engineers and inspectors play a key role in conducting thorough and accurate infrastructure inspections, assessing structural integrity, identifying defects, and recommending remedial actions. They leverage their expertise, specialized tools, and inspection techniques to ensure the safety and reliability of infrastructure assets.

Which technologies are used in a system and what are the critical technology?
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Remote Sensing Technologies: Infrastructure inspection leverages remote sensing technologies such as drones, satellites, and LiDAR to collect aerial imagery, 3D models, and geospatial data of infrastructure assets. Remote sensing enables rapid, non-destructive assessment of large-scale infrastructure, reducing inspection time and costs while improving data accuracy and coverage.

Advanced Imaging and Sensor Technologies: Infrastructure inspection utilizes advanced imaging and sensor technologies, including thermal imaging, ground-penetrating radar, and acoustic sensors, to detect defects, cracks, corrosion, and structural abnormalities in infrastructure assets. These technologies provide insights into asset condition and performance that are not visible to the naked eye, enhancing inspection capabilities.

What data is obtained by the system and what are the critical data management decision points?
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Inspection Data Collection: Infrastructure inspections involve collecting various types of data, including visual observations, measurements, photographs, videos, and sensor readings. Inspectors use specialized equipment and tools, such as drones, LiDAR scanners, and remote sensors, to gather data on asset condition, deterioration, and performance.

Data Analysis and Reporting: Inspection data is analyzed to assess asset condition, identify defects, and prioritize maintenance activities. Data analysis techniques, such as image processing, machine learning, and predictive analytics, help detect anomalies, trends, and patterns indicative of structural issues or potential failures. Inspection reports and visualizations communicate findings to stakeholders effectively.

What business, integration, or regulatory challenges could impact deployment?
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Inspection Planning and Scheduling: Deployment begins with planning inspection campaigns based on asset type, condition, and criticality. Inspections are scheduled to minimize disruption to operations, optimize resource utilization, and ensure comprehensive coverage of infrastructure assets. Advanced scheduling tools and algorithms help plan inspections proactively and prioritize high-risk areas.

Field Data Collection and Integration: Inspectors deploy to the field equipped with mobile devices, inspection tools, and data collection software to gather inspection data systematically. Field data collection solutions enable real-time data capture, annotation, and synchronization with centralized inspection databases and asset management systems, streamlining workflow and reducing manual errors.

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