MnDOT Considering Drones to Help with Minn. Bridge Inspections

Source: ABC 5

Updated: 09/28/2015 6:12 PM
Created: 09/28/2015 5:33 PM
By: Ellen Galles

Engineers at the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) are testing to see if drones could be safer and cheaper for some types of bridge inspections.

Drones can collect still photos and video through GPS coordinates. Those images help engineers look for corrosion, cracks or anything else that may require more analysis.

Engineers are still testing to see if this is a more affordable way to do part of the inspections; they said they also believe it could be safer.

“We’re looking at utilizing drones in confined spaces such as enclosed bridges and inside pier caps, so an inspector doesn’t have to be at risk for confined space entry,” Jennifer Zink with MnDOT said.

MnDOT is about to launch a second phase of the testing this fall. Engineers will concentrate on areas under bridges with drones specifically designed to work in those spaces.

There are more than 20,000 bridges in Minnesota.

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