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GCN : August and September 2016
PHOTOCREDITHERE [BrieFing] A growing number of states are using unmanned aerial systems for risky, costly bridge inspections. Ohio is the latest to test the technology. The state’s Turnpike and Infrastruc- ture Commission is working with the Ohio/Indiana Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center, the Ohio Department of Transportation and UAS company senseFly to conduct the state’s first drone-based bridge inspection, accord- ing to a report on Cleveland.com. Ohio’s 970-foot-long Sandusky River Bridge usu- ally undergoes a “hands-on” inspection by an engineer- ing firm. Yet because of its size, those inspections can be difficult, timely, costly and unsafe — making them the perfect job for a drone. Drones typically have GPS, proximity sensors, 3D imaging software and high- definition cameras. They can provide photos and videos of the bridge so engineers can determine whether it has structural damage or defects. Randy Cole, executive director of the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Com- mission, told Cleveland.com that his of- fice would compare the quality of data collected by drones with data collected by human inspectors. UAS technology could eliminate the need to shut down parts of the turnpike during the inspection. And if the drones are successful, commission officials said they will consider using the devices for construction services and emergency response situations. The inspections were expected to take place on Sept. 13 or 14. Several other states have already been using UAS technology for bridge inspections. Increasing costs led the Minnesota Department of Transporta- tion to test whether drones could im- prove the quality of safety inspections on four bridges last year, according to the department. The state also used drones on the John A. Blatnik Bridge in Duluth to evaluate their imaging tools, ability to operate in small spaces and effective- ness in emergency response after bridge accidents when it’s not safe for human inspectors. Minne- sota’s goal is to identify the drone’s benefits and the bridges best suited for UAS-based inspections so it can implement a statewide contract that would identify overall cost-effec- tiveness, improvements in quality and safety, and future funding sources for state and local bridges. The Delaware River and Bay Author- ity has used drones to inspect the more dangerous sections of the Delaware Memorial Bridge. In April, Delaware Online reported that the agency’s drone took live videos and images from under the bridge and transmitted them to an operator’s tablet PC on the ground. According to the article, state officials said the drone could eliminate the need for lane closures and cut inspection costs by 30 percent. Connecticut tested drones in Decem- ber 2015 for limited visual inspections on the Gold Star Memorial Bridge in New London, according to the state’s Department of Transportation. The state evaluated the drone’s ability to gather detailed information and take photos of hard-to-reach areas. • Drones audition for bridge inspections BY AMANDA ZIADEH When the U.S . Agency for Interna- tional Development announced its Combating Zika and Future Threats Grand Challenge for Development in April, it said it would invest up to $30 million in innovative approaches and solutions for preventing, detect- ing and responding to the outbreak and future infectious diseases. In nine weeks, innovators, re- search institutions and corporations responded with 900 submissions. USAID narrowed the pool to 21 solu- tions that will receive funding for accelerated development, testing and deployment. Here are some of the winning submissions: • A Michigan State University team is deploying mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia, a bacterium that blocks transmission of Zika from mosquitoes to humans, to create a virus-resistant population. • Stanford University’s MosquitoFreq application records mosquitos’ sounds and uses crowdsourcing to identify specific species. The frequencies are used to build biomarkers for species. • The Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs’ Rapid SBCC Habit Optimization Tool seeks to encourage the cleaning of large standing-water mosquito habitats by tailoring best practices and motiva- tional tactics to specific communities. • Premise Data’s citizen-led Disease Risk Mapping and Vector Monitoring solution gathers geo-tagged data on environmental risk factors collected by data contributors in selected cities. The data is transformed daily into heat maps. For a full list of projects, go to is.gd/GCN_zika. • Funding solutions to fight Zika BY AMANDA ZIADEH WIKIMEDIA.ORG 8 GCN AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2016 • GCN.COM Delaware Memorial Bridge 0916gcn_006-008.indd 8 9/1/16 2:39 PM
June and July 2016
October and November 2016