Working with Collins Aerospace, Amey is using the footage taken from the drone to further assess whether there are any issues on network and to better understand the condition of its assets. Images from the drone can be taken from a range of heights, providing information of any preliminary cracks in the road surface, enabling the teams to carry out minor repair works.
Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport Michael Payne said: “This is an exciting opportunity for Kent allowing us to have a much better understanding of the condition of our roads and assets across the county. With this new eye-in-the-sky technology we could have a quick and clear idea of what needs to be done, and where, meaning we will have the information at our fingertips rather than people simply reporting problems to us online. Ultimately this will lead to residents having a better experience on Kent’s roads. I look forward to the results of this trial and we will continue to work with our national partners in government and the aerospace industry to take this forward.”
The trial, which is part of the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT) SMART Places Live Labs programme, trial will look at how effective the technology can be for highway inspections with the project potentially proving the case for it to be used more widely in the future.
David Matthews, Amey Account Director in Kent, said: “Using drone technology to inspect the roads will help us identify early on any potential defect issues, enabling us to react earlier and avoid larger repair works which in turn will reduce the disruption for road users.”
The ADEPT SMART Places Live Labs programme is a two-year £22.9 million project funded by the Department for Transport and supported by project partners SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business, EY, Kier, 02, Ringway and WSP.
Nine local authorities are working on projects to introduce digital innovation across SMART mobility, transport, highways, maintenance, data, energy and communications. Live Labs is part of ADEPT’s SMART Places programme to support the use of digital technology in place-based services.
This included the development of ‘autonomous vehicles’ focusing on innovation, collaboration and agility.