(Photo courtesy of DRBA)
There’s been a lot of talk around here about the potential use of drones and learning how to fly them, but this week the Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) actually used drones for a practical purpose in inspecting the Delaware Memorial Bridge Twin Span.
The inspection was a test to see if the authority will move forward with using drones for further inspections, according to a release. Scott Green, DRBA’s executive director, said in a statement that the test was “a case of putting our money where our mouth is.”
The successful use of drones in this scenario seems to be a big win: It’s much safer and faster than manual inspections and costs significantly less. Shekhar Scindia, DRBA project engineer, said sometimes annual inspections cost more than $500,000. Using drones also cuts down on lane closure requirements.
The test took place on the New Jersey side of the bridge complex, and an Inspire 1 Pro and Maverick X8 captured video and photographs from inside a concrete anchorage, external shots of a concrete pier and of the bridge’s steel cable and superstructure.
The DRBA will take that footage and decide if it’s good enough to permanently replace traditional inspection methods, the release said.
The authority has been involved in the Delaware UAS Task Force, which has been meeting monthly to iron out the future of drone use in the state. The group has discussed public education, training and outreach; a proposed resolution for the state legislature; the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership; and economic development options, some of which include drone racing events and drone video for Delaware.
The task force’s next meeting is April 21 in Dover, and Ryan Media Lab will give a drone demonstration at Legislative Mall before the meeting begins.-30-
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