intel drone
The Intel Falcon 8+ Drone at the Daniel Carter Beard Bridge (Source: Intel)

Intel has announced two separate collaborations with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to improve bridge inspections by using drones.

In partnership with KYTC and Michael Baker International, Intel recently used its drone technology to help inspect and analyze the Daniel Carter Beard Bridge, an eight-lane interstate that crosses the Ohio River. Nearly 100,000 vehicles cross the bridge daily, and even minor obstructions, such as lane closures, can result in costly delays. Between lift-off and landing, the automated inspection with Intel’s Falcon 8+ drone technology enabled the bridge to remain open and be fully functional while the team completed the assignment.

For this inspection, the Intel drone captured about 2,500 high-resolution aerial images, generating 22 GB 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, which could also be applied to monitoring the paint deterioration and cable stability of the bridge over time.

Separately, working with MnDOT and Collins Engineers, Intel and its commercial drone technology helped expedite an inspection of the Stone Arch Bridge, a landmark pedestrian and bicycle bridge in Minneapolis, with increased automation. While most bridges are inspected every 24 months, officials inspect the Stone Arch Bridge annually due to the complex nature of the structure’s aging masonry and a fractured steel span, explains Intel. Incorporating Intel technology, MnDOT and Collins Engineers increased efficiency, reducing work hours by 28%. The work resulted in an inspection cost-savings of approximately 40%, which could save taxpayers an estimated $160,000 over the next 10 years, according to the partners’ estimates.

“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,” says Anil Nanduri, Intel’s vice president and general manager of the drone team.

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