Live Labs drone project hits new heights

08/04/2021
Chris Ames

Amey is embarking on the second phase of its drone trial project in Kent, focusing on inspecting vegetation and highways assets and identifying defects in power and water utilities infrastructure.

The trial, which is part of the ADEPT SMART Places Live Labs programme, will still use the technology for highway inspections but will also look at how effective it can be for capturing wildlife habitats and understanding any future repairs to utilities infrastructure.

Amey is Kent County Council’s highways maintenance contractor.

Carol Valentine, highways project manager at Kent CC, said: ‘We’re excited to be working with this technology to understand the benefits it can bring to improving our services to people in Kent.

‘These trials will help us better understand the health and ecosystem of our soft landscape, highways assets and the condition of power and water infrastructure. The trial data will be assessed, and we could potentially be using this technology across the county in the future.’

Russell Coleman of Collins Aerospace said: ‘By generating highly detailed measureable digital replicas, a full record of assets and infrastructure can be captured and utilised to provide an analysis of current asset condition and to provide a snapshot in time for future automatic change detection.’

Giles Perkins, programme director for Live Labs said: ‘The wide scale use of drone technologies could provide significant benefits. This application in Kent will help illustrate new and innovative ways of collecting data that is quicker than traditional methods but also helps keep those who work on our highways out of harm’s way.’

The Live Labs programme is a two-year £22.9m project funded by the Department for Transport and supported by project partners SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business, EY, Kier, 02, Ringway and WSP.

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