Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW) is responsible for inspecting and maintaining over six thousand bridges across NSW, a timely and costly endeavour. The Sydney Harbour Bridge alone contains 4100 elements and 485,000 square metres of steel and paint that need to be inspected regularly.

More recently TfNSW has been working with Sphere Drones to come up with a roving technology-based solution to autonomously inspect the Sydney Harbour Bridge as a part of an Australian first trial.

Brief
Transport for New South Wales came to Sphere Drones wanting to find a drone solution to meet two requirements:

  • A safe drone solution with high data quality, and
  • a drone that didn’t require extensive pilot training.

Transport for New South Wales found that is drone fleet at the time wasn’t able to meet these two requirements due to the drones being needed to be flown manually most of the time, increasing the risk of crashes and increasing the stress and workload on the pilot, which also impacted the quality of the data capture and therefore produced low quality reports and 3D models.

Solution

After an in-depth consultation involving Transport for New South Wales and Sphere Drones, the perfect solution was chosen, Skydio 2+ Enterprise powered by Skydio Autonomy Enterprise and Skydio 3D Scan.

Skydio’s powerful Autonomy Enterprise gives the Skydio 2+ Enterprise the ability to get up close and into the structure of a bridge to capture data while dynamically avoiding trusses and other structural elements. Combining Skydio Autonomy Enterprise with Skydio 3D scan automates the data capture process, only requiring a pilot to setup the scan.

Result

After extensive testing, the solution will allow Transport for New South Wales to provide stakeholders with high-quality reports, both in traditional formats and 3D models, rapidly deploy automated bridge inspections across many other bridges in New South Wales and increase the number of inspections undertaken thanks to the extra layer of protection Skydio Autonomy provides pilots.

Paris Cockinos, Sphere Drones CEO:

“My team has been working collaboratively with TfNSW since 2018 to unlock use cases that improve safety, increase efficiency and reach the inaccessible. The thought that the 485,000 square meters of steel and paint and 4,100 unique elements of the Sydney Harbour Bridge had no previous methods of scalable inspection and now does is a huge WIN.”

By Press