Skydio drones automate Sydney Harbour Bridge inspections

skydio sydney harbour bridge drone inspection 1

Australia’s iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge is now being maintained with the help of Skydio inspection drones equipped with artificial intelligence.

The 90-year-old bridge contains 4,100 elements and 485,000 square meters of steel and paint that must be inspected regularly. The responsibility for Sydney Harbour Bridge’s maintenance rests with Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW), which also inspects and maintains another 6,000 bridges across the state.

Like many other forward-looking public organizations in the world, TfNSW has been exploring the use of drones to automate dangerous, repetitive manual work. It has been working with drone service provider Sphere Drones since 2018 to inspect inaccessible bridge parts more efficiently.

Now, TfNSW has added Skydio’s AI-equipped drones to its arsenal because the time had come for a solution that didn’t require “extensive pilot training.”

As Transport for NSW director of roads maintenance Jeremy Hards tells 9NEWS:

The AI technology with the drones means they can get to all those hard-to-reach places on the bridge and get on top of the maintenance and what we need to do quickly and efficiently. For example, after a disaster, we can get in there and prioritize where we are effectively providing maintenance.

Sphere Drones CEO Paris Cockinos explains that the solution TfNSW chose consists of Skydio 2+ Enterprise drone powered by Skydio Autonomy Enterprise and Skydio 3D Scan. Cockinos says:

Skydio’s powerful Autonomy Enterprise gives the Skydio 2+ Enterprise the ability to get up close and into the structure of a bridge to capture data while dynamically avoiding trusses and other structural elements. Combining Skydio Autonomy Enterprise with Skydio 3D scan automates the data capture process, only requiring a pilot to set up the scan.

TfNSW says it will use the new solution to rapidly deploy automated inspections across many other bridges in the state and provide stakeholders with high-quality reports both in traditional formats and 3D models.

Read: Skydio makes a move on filmmakers with KeyFrame autonomous drone cinematography

Images courtesy: 9NEWS

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