Old meets new as Roads and Maritime trials drone technology for bridge inspections

10 November 2014

Member for Kiama Gareth Ward today announced a recent trial of drone technology on the historic Hampden Bridge at Kangaroo Valley.

“The NSW Government recently organised a demonstration to test the effectiveness of the technology in improving the safety of maintenance inspections staff and minimising inconvenience to motorists,” Mr Ward said.

“Hampden Bridge was selected for the trial because of ease of access for viewing enabling inspection both above and below the bridge.

“Often bridge inspections require lane closures and sometimes full closures for maintenance crews to work safely above and beneath the bridge.

“The drone technology trial has allowed the same close inspection of drains, bolts, cables and timber without having to set up scaffolding and harnesses,” he said.

The demonstration was arranged using the services of Melbourne based company XM2 which uses drone based technology in a number of applications.

The legislation and work, health and safety issues surrounding drones is strict and requires a special license Civil Aviation Authority of Australia (CASA) with the camera function able to be controlled remotely.

“This technology also allows Roads and Maritime staff to control the camera function in order to inspect areas difficult to reach or view with the human eye.  Footage is directly relayed to a computer screen or to goggles worn by the cameraman,” he said.

“Roads and Maritime is considering using this technology in the future for a number of applications including emergency investigations of land slips and inspection of cliff stabilisation measures.

“This technology will benefit Roads and Maritime staff in inspections and investigative measures and will improve road safety and traffic flow by minimising road and bridge lane closures,” Mr Ward said.

MEDIA: Gareth Ward 0401 499 933 or Ben Blackburn 0423 466 358

View the original media release (PDF)

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