With total damages from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria totaling roughly $365 billion1, the 2017 hurricane season was the costliest on record in the U.S and revealed the dilapidated state of US Infrastructure, which was completely unprepared to withstand the onslaught of such epic storms. The upcoming 2018 hurricane season could be even more destructive, however, raising fears about the disaster it could wreak on the region’s already-crumbling infrastructure. Infrastructure Preservation Corporation, a Clearwater, Florida-based robotics manufacturer, says determining which infrastructure requires immediate investment through using robotic and nondestructive inspection methods to triage failing infrastructure and determine which repairs and investments take priority.
2017’s unprecedented storms put the US’s failing infrastructure into perspective, as they devastated everything from roads to water supplies to cell coverage. In Florida, Hurricane Irma left over six million people without power for weeks2. Hundreds of thousands in Texas were left without clean drinking water and basic sanitation after Hurricane Harvey3.
These events were extraordinary, but a changing climate means such storms will only be more common, inflicting greater damage on the country’s failing infrastructure. The number and intensity of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes is estimated to more than double by the end of the century6, an increase which, coupled with continually rising sea levels (estimated at an inch per decade7), could spell disaster for coastal communities. Government officials at all levels are beginning to realize that action must be taken to prepare for future events to save lives and are racing to come up with the funding and resources needed to repair their roads, bridges, power lines and flood control systems.
To quickly assess and triage the repairs and investment needed, engineers are turning to new robotic methods of inspection, such as Drone & Robotic Inrastructure Inspections to dramatically reduce the time and cost associated with evaluating structures. IPC’s nondestructive technology (NDT) allows engineers to thoroughly inspect and evaluate the integrity of roads, bridges, dams and other critical infrastructure, seeing inside concrete and steel by taking what are essentially “MRI type inspections”. This allows inspectors assess corrosion and structural weakness before they develop into larger risks to the public. Officials can then determine which repairs are most critical to minimizing the impact of upcoming storms, allocating funds and resources fast. Such an approach can transform the way in which governments evaluate and plan for infrastructure repairs and could save millions of dollars in the process.
“It is critical that the country’s infrastructure receives the attention and repair it needs, before the next natural disaster occurs,” says Doug Thaler, President of IPC. “New inspection technologies are an efficient method for officials to evaluate the state of their infrastructure, establish priorities and allocate funds for urgent repairs, and take action before tragedy strikes. These types of modern and robotic inspections due to their cost efficiency and lower disruption to traffic and the public should be adopted by the DOT for the regular biennial inspections vs the current visual methods. The inspections will be more accurate, faster, and much more cost-efficient.”
IPC’s robotic inspection methods and NDT are the first of their kind and have positioned the company as the leader in high-tech solutions for evaluating infrastructure and extending its service life. It provides quantitative data and images of structural damage and corrosion for governments and officials to act on before they worsen, averting closures, disasters and unnecessary repair costs.
President, Infrastructure Preservation Corporation
Infrastructure Preservation Corporation (IPC) is a robotics manufacturer and professional services engineering company that delivers infrastructure inspection services condition assessments using reliable and accurate imaging based on geophysical non