Canada-based company Niricson has developed a system that uses drones to fly over concrete structures and collect thermal and acoustical data that are later analyzed by software for defects. Engineers recently used the system to inspect dams in British Columbia, but company co-founder Harsh Rathod envisions use of the technology expanding to bridges, tunnels, nuclear power plants and water tankInsight.
Founders of Niricson, a Victoria, B.C.-based technology company, have developed a novel drone-based collection and damage-assessment software system to inspect and detect problems with aging infrastructure.
The system was recently used to inspect dams for BC Hydro and could soon play a major role in maintaining aging bridges, tunnels and other types of infrastructure across Canada, the U.S. and around the globe.
“We started with dams but the next thing we’re doing is going into bridges and tunnels, even nuclear power plants, water tanks, all types of concrete structures, and then slowly going to steel and timber structures as well,” says Harsh Rathod, co-founder of the company. “We can apply it to any type of asset.”
The system uses visual, acoustical and infra-red heat sensing to get an idea of what it’s like below the surface of a structure and detect cracks, voids or other problems in the concrete. Drones fly around large civil infrastructure projects and collect the information using an onboard acoustic recorder, optical camera and infra-red camera.
The data is analyzed in real time using the company’s software. From the information provided, inspectors can tell the width, length, depth and overall significance of the defects and, if necessary, take immediate action to repair them.