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Rapid, Safe Inspection of Water-spanning Infrastructure via Amphibious Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

Description :  As transportation infrastructure ages and is subjected to serious weather events, the improper, incomplete, or infrequent inspection of structures represents a serious threat to public safety both nationally and within the State of Louisiana. Besides the potential for serious injury, the repair costs associated with late discovery of problems can represent a substantial unplanned expense for transportation departments. This is especially true of critical but hard-to-reach areas such as the undersides of water-spanning structures as are common within the State. Thus, there is a pressing need for a technology that allows for rapid, safe, and thorough inspection of water-spanning infrastructure in a cost-effective manner. The primary objective of this research is to design, develop, deploy, and evaluate an amphibious unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system capable of shooting high-definition video and pictures from multiple viewpoints as part of infrastructure inspection activities for water-spanning infrastructure. The ability to operate from water as well as land makes the envisioned solution especially attractive to the State of Louisiana. This project will provide a versatile, cost-effective means of performing multi-view infrastructure inspection of hard-to-reach areas within the State at a fraction of the cost of late discovery repairs. The envisioned solution would also allow inspections to be accomplished while reducing the need for traffic disruptions and minimizing injury risk to transportation workers and the public. Secondary beneficial objectives include a) the publication and dissemination of findings related to this work for the wider benefit of transportation professionals including experimental data, proof-of-concept, and performance feedback, and b) the professional development of a supported graduate student towards advanced understanding of the specific challenges, priorities, and best practices associated with work in the field of transportation.
Principal Investigator:  Moore, Arden  --  Mechanical Engineering, Institute for Micromanufacturing, Molecular Science and Nanotechnology
Collaborators:  
Funding Agencies:  LTRC
Amount Awarded:  29,941

Start Period:  00/00/0000 End Period:  00/00/0000
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December 17th, 2017

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