University of Waterloo Exploring Robotic Solutions To improve Bridge Inspections

Researchers at the University of Waterloo (UW) have developed an innovative new robotics technology that might make inspecting bridges a little easier, cheaper and safer while producing more reliable results.

Instead of the traditional method of sending out inspectors to do a visual, which more often than not requires specialized equipment such as lifts to be brought in to accomplish the task, the new system automates the process by combining autonomous mobile inspection robots, cameras and LiDAR — a remote sensing method that uses lasers to systematically collect data for defect detection and analysis.

“We can do more than humans now do — and do it much better in every way,” says Sriram Narasimhan, an engineering professor at UW. “It is very inexpensive because you don’t need as many inspectors relying on specialized equipment such as lifts, and you get much higher quality information.”

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