How Advanced Technology and Robotic Engineering Can Change the Health of Our Infrastructure for the Better
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As humanity has progressed, it has designed, visualized, and created many different objects that aid its activities while also paving the way for future growth. Creations such as transportation facilities, buildings, drainage facilities, and much more can be defined using the word “infrastructure.” Being the basic physical objects that support an entire society, infrastructure is a necessity for basic human functions and the growth of enterprises in society. Due to their importance, they needed to be treated with care and need to be protected.
The Danger Infrastructure Faces
Every single physical object that happens to be a part of a society’s infrastructure is essentially constructed using normal raw materials. Much like every other creation in this world, these objects gradually incur damage and start to lose their foundation and strength. Infrastructure slowly depreciates with time and has to be maintained to keep it worthy of use. Buildings, train stations, and any other object that becomes a part of infrastructure have to be subjected to constant repairs and every now and then have to be entirely refurbished. The repairs and refurbishment extend to both the exterior and the interior of any infrastructure, with every single nook and cranny having to be checked.
Modern technology and robotics can help extend the service life of our critical infrastructure assets and save money and lives.
These inspections can be performed today for the same cost as the current manual inspections.
Both repairs and refurbishment are very long and costly processes. Essentially every single inch has to be checked and reviewed to see what kind of repairs or additions it requires. The inspection process is done by humans which means that some aspects of infrastructure are subject to human error, running the risk of those problems that were missed escalating in the future and potentially causing major problems. To decrease the time required for the entire process and also to minimize or entirely erase the chance of errors in inspections, inspection processes need to change and technology needs to be used.
How Technology Can Change the Health of Our Infrastructure
Technology plays a major part in every walk of life, erasing the aspect of human error in most cases and providing efficient and quick solutions. The same is true when it comes to maintaining our infrastructure. Utilizing advanced technology to inspect infrastructure can provide in-depth results which go to extents that human inspections cannot reach. By using radar, ultrasonics, and other non-destructive testing technologies, the cracks inside a building’s foundations and the rate with which they spread can be judged and other innovations from devices such as this can be utilized to check other aspects of infrastructure.
Maintenance is typically handled by human engineers that have conducted manual inspections the same way for the better part of the last 40-50 years. This may have been sufficient with newer structures but the infrastructure has aged past the point will manual inspections can continue to suffice. This is where robotic engineering comes in. By utilizing nondestructive testing technologies, new software, and robots to maintain and fix buildings, the chance of human error decreases the process becomes far quicker and more efficient.
The technology essentially allows humans to not only find problems in infrastructure more efficiently and easily, but it also allows us to deal with those problems earlier on in the infrastructure’s lifecycle. This enables us to extend the service life of these critical infrastructure assets with a lower cost and a lower margin for error.
An infrastructure crisis of herculean proportions now exists within the U.S. At every level, the U.S. government is struggling with how to repair, replace and maintain the nation’s aging bridges, roads, water management systems, and more. Infrastructure failures could have a significant impact on daily life if action is not taken. Metropolitan, state, and federal departments of transportation (DOTs) do not have the funds to replace aging infrastructure and are looking for ways to prolong service life.
Infraspect is a robotics manufacturer and professional services engineering company that delivers infrastructure inspection condition assessments using reliable and accurate imaging based on geophysical nondestructive testing (NDT) and robotic technologies.
Based in Clearwater, Florida, Infraspect has developed its technologies and services to detect early-stage infrastructure degradation and deterioration in concrete and steel structures. From bridges to utility or communication towers and other public/private infrastructure, Infraspect technologies deliver “next generation” alternatives to disrupt markets that still use manual inspection methods.