Utilising Drone Technology for Your Next Tunnel Inspection


1st January, 1970

Utilising Drone Technology for Your Next Tunnel Inspection

Throughout Europe, the transport infrastructure consists of an extensive network of tunnels, connecting us to places which would otherwise be obstructed by natural barriers. These tunnels bring huge benefits as it increases our efficiency by reducing distance, time, as well as aid the growth of regional economies.   

As clocks continue to tick, what was once known as state of the art is now outdated. Technological advances means previous systems are likely to be less effective in comparison to modern alternatives. To ensure safety standards are maintained, a vast sum of safety regulations are in place. Frequent inspections are demanded to protect the public.

Utilising Modern Technology

Already, integrating new systems into aging tunnels has been happening for quite some time. However, traditional methods are still being employed for the inspection process. Recently, Unmanned Aerial Technology (Drones) has entered the mix, and its unique ability to be controlled remotely has benefited multiple industries (e.g agriculture, emergency services). Shortening both time and costs, it is no wonder why drones are being utilised for tunnel inspection.

To demonstrate the huge reduction in cost, we have taken a cost breakdown from Commercial UAV NEWS –  https://www.expouav.com/news/latest/using-drone-technology-construction-tunnel-environment/

Task – Inspection of Concrete Pipe on side of 45m shaft (once a week inspection )

Previous inspection regime:

·        Time: approximately 1 hour to do a visual inspection in shaft

·        Labour requirement : 4 personnel ( Crane driver , Slinger signaller , Crane supervisor , Site engineer)

·        Method:

  • Using a caged man rider with Slinger signaller & Engineer inside the tower crane will lower the cage parallel to pipes to the base of the shaft at a slow pace, videos and photos are take for record purposes and examined for cracks, damage and loose fixings
  • Cost Consideration

·        Labour cost: 4 personnel 1 hour: £149

·        Plant Cost: Tower Crane cost/hr: £235                  

·        Total cost of inspection per day = £384

Current inspection regime with Drone

·        Time: approximately 15 minutes to do a visual inspection in shaft

·        Labour requirement : 1 personnel ( Site engineer)

·        Method :

  • The drone is taken to the bottom of the shaft and is flown 2m away from the pipes vertically to the top and returned back to bottom ( Engineer will remain at base of shaft throughout flight) , videos and photos are take for record purposes and examined for cracks , damage and loose fixings
  • Cost consideration :

·        Labour cost: engineer @ approx £35 per hour: £ 8.75 for 15min

·        Plant Cost: £ 45 per use (based on how many times the drone was used for this particular inspection)

Total Saving:

·        = £375.25 saving per inspection

·        = £1501 per month

With huge benefits, it is no wonder this trend will continue! If you are looking to use drones for your next tunnel inspection, make sure you discuss a potential collaboration with our Technology Spotlight Sponsor, Astralution. For more information, please visit: http://www.arena-international.com/fpst?clearcache=1

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