The drones are being trialled by the County Council, in partnership with its contractors Jacobs and Ringway, to inspect bridge structures in better, safer, more cost-effective, and recordable ways.
The drone has a dedicated professional pilot, whilst the camera is controlled by a bridge inspector to enable them to focus on any areas of interest.
By using the drone in areas where access would usually be very difficult to reach, such as over water or at height, risk is minimised, and the inspection can be carried out effectively.
Cllr Mike Rouse, Worcestershire County Council’s cabinet member for Highways and Transport, commented: ‘It is fantastic to see that we have started to trial drone technology. This could contribute greatly towards helping us inspect and maintain bridges in a much more efficient way, proving a huge benefit to road users in Worcestershire. We have around 1,500 bridge structures across the county and if we need to close them, residents and businesses are all inconvenienced.
‘We are committed to bringing this innovation forward to help us better manage our bridges and potentially other structural assets too such as culverts. This will help us get the maximum value from our budget. The use of drones will not in any way replace the judgement of our professional structures engineers but could lead to a more efficient and safer way of making inspections.’