Home » Lithuania adopts AI-drone combo for road inspections

Lithuania adopts AI-drone combo for road inspections

by Sion Geschwindt
Lithuania adopts AI-drone combo for road inspections

Lithuania’s road authority AB Kelių priežiūra has joined forces with Thrust and Agmis to introduce an AI-powered drone-based system for automated road inspection.

The state-owned company, which maintains more than 21,000 km of national roads, currently inspects roads manually using specialist vehicles that have to drive slowly across thousands of kilometres.

This joint project, called GreenBee, aims to improve the quality and scope of road network inspection and also to reduce CO2 emissions created while performing inspection tasks.

With GreenBee road inspection, vehicles will be replaced by UAVs equipped with high-definition cameras and multiple sensors. The drones will fly along the inspection routes and gather data for further analysis.

Acquired video and sensor data will be analysed by employing AI and Computer Vision technologies to identify defects and trouble spots. 

Jolita Mackienė, Head of Quality and Technology at AB Kelių priežiūra, said: “By rapidly covering large areas and pinpointing areas of potential defects, UAVs and AI analysis will act as a reconnaissance service. This will allow us to efficiently plan manned inspection routes and to dispatch teams to the areas requiring prompt action.”

‘Cutting emissions by 90%’

According to Mackienė, the introduction of UAVs will help to reduce the CO2 emission footprint of inspections by 90%. It will also help to divert maintenance resources from initial surveying to more critical tasks.

The UAV platform for the project will be developed by technology company Thrust. Thrust designs multifunctional and customizable drone systems for client-specific aerial inspection tasks.

Gintautas Nedzveckas, head of Business Development at Thrust, said: “The length of the EU road network stretches for approximately 5 million kilometers.

“We estimate that the current road inspection framework requires driving 93,7 million kilometers and committing 3,1 million man-hours every year, with up to 37,5 thousand tons of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere. Employing UAVs for the task cut these emissions by 90%.”

Technology company Agmis will provide AI video analysis services. Agmis develops custom Computer Vision applications for retail, industrial, and aerodiagnostics verticals.

Žygintas Šitkauskas, Head of Product Development at Agmis, added: “AI video analysis is a game-changer in infrastructure inspection. From power lines to gas pipes, solar and wind farms, and other industrial objects, automated inspection frameworks help tackle even the largest projects, which otherwise would not be feasible.

“In addition, it uniforms the defect spotting process, eliminating the human factors in the process. By reducing costs and improving efficiency, AI analysis is quickly becoming a standard staple in today’s infrastructure diagnostics.”

Image credit: Dmitry Kalinovsky/Shutterstock

Read next: AI Clearing: Unlocking real value from drone data

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