Automated road inspections from the skies

AI-powered drones are set to carry out automated road inspections from the sky in Lithuania.

State-owned company AB Kelių priežiūra ensures maintenance of more than 21,000km of Lithuania’s road network and is working with drone specialist Thrust and AI video analysis specialist Agmis to introduce an AI-powered drone-based system for automated road inspection.

The project, called GreenBee, will involve the current specialist road inspection vehicles being replaced by drones equipped with high-definition cameras and multiple sensors. The drones will fly along the inspection routes and gather data for further analysis. The acquired video and sensor data will be analysed by employing AI and computer vision technologies to identify defects and trouble spots.

“By rapidly covering large areas and pinpointing areas of potential defects, drones and AI analysis will act as a reconnaissance service. This will allow us to efficiently plan manned inspection routes and to dispatch teams to the areas requiring prompt action,” said Jolita Mackiene, head of quality and technology at AB Kelių priežiūra.

The introduction of drones will help to reduce the CO2 emission footprint of inspections by 90%. It will also help to divert maintenance resources from initial surveying to more critical tasks.

Zygintas Sitkauskas, head of product development at Agmis, added: “AI video analysis is a game-changer in infrastructure inspection. From power lines, to gas pipes, solar and wind farms and other industrial objects, automated inspection frameworks help tackle even the largest projects, which otherwise would not be feasible.

“In addition, it uniforms the defect-spotting process, eliminating the human factors in the process. By reducing costs and improving efficiency, AI analysis is quickly becoming a standard staple in today’s infrastructure diagnostics.”

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