The SourceCivil Engineering MagazineTechnology: Remote Bridge and Tunnel Maintenance Tech Made Free Due to COVID-19

Technology: Remote Bridge and Tunnel Maintenance Tech Made Free Due to COVID-19

By Catherine A. Cardno, Ph.D.

IN RESPONSE to the COVID-19 global pandemic, Dynamic Infrastructure, a start-up based in New York City, has offered free use through the end of 2020 of its bridge maintenance technology to departments of transportation and public–private partnerships. The technology uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help bridge and tunnel managers inspect and manage their assets, according to Saar Dickman, the cofounder and chief executive officer of the company.

The system is proactive, Dickman adds. It extracts and predicts precise actionable information from available imagery, creating a profile for a given asset that is akin to a medical diagnosis. “We use existing and past reports of bridges and tunnels to create a ‘visual medical file,’” he explains. “This serves as the basis for tracking all the anomalies of the specific asset along its lifetime.

“The AI enables us to analyze thousands of defects, detecting anomalies, and to follow up on them and alert the operations and maintenance managers when necessary.”

Easy to Use

No special equipment is required for the system, which can be implemented in less than a day, according to the company. The technology can use images taken by smartphones as well as those gathered by lidar scanning or drone flights.

“We analyze the existing photos [to] ‘build’ the asset” digitally, Dickman explains. “Any additional images can be uploaded into the account over time, enabling a continuous process of analyzing or updating the asset’s medical file.”

Maintenance information and alerts are sent to the user in a simple browser-based format.

Benefits During Current Crisis

The system identifies defects—such as rust or cracks—and alerts users to their existence so that these issues can be managed before developing into large-scale failures. (Image courtesy of Dynamic Infrastructure)

By alerting users to defects before they can evolve into large-scale failures, the software helps owners manage risks and prevent unplanned expenses. The system is also able to automatically track repairs, which can maximize warranties, Dickman notes.

And the benefits during the pandemic are even more immediate. “People are still struggling to find the right way to keep the maintenance running when workplaces and families are under full or partial quarantine,” said Daniel Granatshtein, the chief technology officer of Dynamic Infrastructure, in recent press material. “We know that remote access to assets, strong sharing capabilities, and a knowledgeable decision-support system can make a difference.” Such systems enable remote discussions and decision-making and eliminate unnecessary face-to-face meetings, Granatshtein pointed out.

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