Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Improving Quality of Bridge Inspections Using Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

Status:  Active
Project Start Date:  04/07/2017


MnDOT completed a small research project in 2015 to study the effectiveness of UAS technology applied to bridge safety inspections. The project team inspected four bridges at various locations throughout Minnesota and evaluated the UAS' effectiveness in improving inspection quality and inspector safety based on field results. A second research effort demonstrated UAS imaging on the Blatnik Bridge and investigated UAS use for infrared deck surveys. Additionally, a best practices document was created to identify bridges that are best suited for UAS inspection. It is the goal, based on this research, to implement a statewide UAS bridge inspection plan, which will identify overall cost effectiveness, improvements in quality and safety, and future funding sources for both state and local bridges. The project investigator will also investigate a collision tolerant drone for confined space inspections.

Final Report:

Related Materials: