Technology

Start-up innovation creates ‘medical records’ of bridges and tunnels

5 November 2019

New York and Tel Aviv-based start-up Dynamic Infrastructure is implementing the world’s first deep-learning solution which allows bridge and tunnel owners and operators to obtain visual diagnosis of the assets they manage.

The system provides live, cloud-based, 3D views of the bridge or tunnel and automatically alerts when changes are detected in maintenance and operation conditions – before the issues evolve into large-scale failures.

Dynamic Infrastructure is already conducting projects in the US, Germany, Switzerland, Greece and Israel with different transportation infrastructure stakeholders. The company’s clients operate a total of 30,000 assets, ranging from transportation departments to public-private partnerships (PPPs) and private companies.

Dynamic Infrastructure quickly creates “medical records” for every bridge, tunnel and elevated highway, based on existing images taken through periodical condition inspections along the years, including images from smartphones, drones and laser scanning.

The proprietary technology compares old and archived images to new ones, detecting maintenance and operation issues, defects and anomalies. Like MRI for humans , the 3D “medical records” serve as the basis for the alerts on changes in maintenance conditions. The diagnostics can be accessed through a browser and can be instantly shared with peers and contractors to speed maintenance workflows.

“The world faces an infrastructure crisis,” said Saar Dickman, co-founder and CEO of Dynamic Infrastructure. “Specifically, deficient bridges and tunnels represent a severe infrastructure challenge in the US and worldwide and their poor condition leads to life losses and millions in unplanned expenditures. Trying to repair America’s deficient infrastructure without adopting new technologies will not work. Technology allows you to change the equation of one-dollar problem equals one dollar of solution. A single dollar of the right technology in the right place can save much more than one dollar of maintenance of a bridge.”

Dickman added: “Until recently, there has been no effective system that can quickly and precisely identify defects in bridges throughout their lifetime. We provide actionable monitoring and alerts that can better manage expenditures and help prevent the next collapse. We are bringing the data revolution to the decision-making process of bridges and tunnel maintenance based on our cutting-edge imagery analysis.” 

In total, there are more than 616,000 bridges in the US. Of those, more than 47,000 are structurally deficient and need urgent repairs, according to a report issued earlier this year by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). Americans cross these deficient bridges 178 million times a day.

Image: Heather Mcardle/Dreamstime.com