Underwater Bridge Inspections – Drones Conducting Remote Evaluations
Deep Trekker Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV), or underwater drones, are establishing themselves as the ideal tool for underwater bridge inspections.
It goes without saying that the structural integrity of a bridge is extremely important; after all, you’re only either walking, driving, or riding a train across it. With the public safety in mind and to continue the flow of traffic, these overpasses must be monitored on a consistent basis. Evaluating the overall architecture on the surface for any signs of damage or deterioration which, includes underwater bridge inspections.
Underwater Bridge Inspections
The entire submerged exterior of the bridges’ piers and abutments are surveyed for signs of erosion, destruction, visual signs of distress, and to examine the scour.
Commercial Divers & Their Safety
Traditionally, commercial divers undergo the task of underwater bridge inspections. For employee safety, teams of three or more divers navigate below the water to not only inspect the bridge’s edifice but also monitor the other divers’ security.
Given the variety of environments, unsafe situations often keep divers out of the water. At times, the visibility within the water is low or after an object collides into the structure, divers must examine the damage through the scattered wreckage. In this instance, a couple different options present themselves: acoustic imaging or Remotely Operated Vehicle inspections.
Underwater Bridge Inspections – Acoustic Imaging
The use of acoustic imaging aids in the strategising of diving operations by identifying areas damage; giving divers an area to concentrate their repair efforts. Moreover, acoustic imaging provides foresight to potential dangers in the water prior to sending in the dive team.
Remotely Operated Vehicle Incorporation
Here is where Deep Trekker ROVs, or underwater drones, have been so popular. Rather than sending a team of divers to conduct underwater bridge inspections, commercial diving companies and municipalities send the drone below the surface first. Deep Trekker’s DTX2 Remotely Operated Vehicle versatility allows for acoustic imaging integration; giving the opportunity to survey the area for any obstructions or potential threats to the repair team and to give an overall picture of the integrity of the structure.
The Deep Trekker DTX2 underwater drone’s construct with 4 vectored thrusters gives it the ability to move laterally; this is specifically important in bridge inspections. The ROV is able to work against currents and hold its position facing the piers or other areas of interest.
With a unique pitching system, the DTX2 boasts unmatched maneuverability. Coupling with the 330-degree field of view with the rotating HD camera, the DTX2 proves to be the ideal solution to underwater bridge inspections. This inimitable construction allows the ROV to hold its position and scan entire area using the imaging sonar.
Once the inspection is complete revealing areas of interest, repairs to the structure may begin using commercial dive teams. The underwater drone acts as the supervisor on-site; from the surface, the ROV operator monitors the diver’s progress and safety through the live video feed on the controller. Additionally, the video feed can be recorded or captured as a still frame; as a result, this provides the opportunity to archive inspections for later review or to present to clients the before and after.
For its versatility, robustness, and portability, the Deep Trekker DTX2 continues to establish itself as the ideal tool to complete underwater bridge inspections.