Transport Infrastructure Ireland to spend €100k on 'eyes in the sky'

By Gordon Deegan

Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) is to fork out €100,000 to have ‘eyes in the sky’ to help survey the country’s multi-billion euro motorway system.

Dublin firm Korec has secured a five-year contract to deploy drone technology across the roads’ network.

TII’s Sean O’Neill said the unmanned aerial vehicle service will cover as much ground area in one flight, in under an hour, as a traditional ground-based survey team would cover in 14 days.

As a result, multiple flights can be undertaken in one day based on requirements,” he said.

Mr O’Neill, director of corporate communications at TII, said the new contract which will involve the use of two drones will produce cost savings for TII.

The transport authority oversees 1,220km of motorway and dual carriageway.

Up to now when carrying out inspections, TII deployed staff in the field with the task of setting up traffic management and diverting traffic.

However, that will be avoided by being able to put a drone in the air.

Unmanned aerial vehicles reduce the requirement for traffic management which reduces risk to staff and the travelling public as well as cost savings from not having to do traffic management,” Mr O’Neill said.

“The unmanned aerial vehicles will reduce the need for procurement of aerial surveys for route designs from third parties through the use of planes.

“We typically do multiple surveys as part of the early design stage.

Therefore, the investment in this technology offers significant savings in time and resources.

The contract with Korec includes annual software licensing fees and is fixed for a term of five years.

Mr O’Neill also said the contract includes two unmanned aerial vehicles and the typical uses will be to perform aerial topographic surveys, corridor mapping, structural inspections and deformation monitoring.

The outputs from the work are to include digital surface models, digital elevation models, 3D meshes, and fly-through animations.

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