UAS Inspection of the Brighton Dam

This past year, we performed a series of prototype UAS inspections of the Brighton Dam in Maryland, in partnership with the Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission. Dam inspections have many of the same challenges as bridge inspections; they are time-consuming and require a lot of expensive rigging and equipment. The goal for this project was to explore how to use a combination of different imaging platforms together to generate one large and high-resolution 3D survey of the dam.

We used a total of four different UAS, including a fixed wing and three different quadrotor systems,  and generated 3D models from each of the UAS using structure-from-motion. We also scanned the dam using a laser scanner. We then merged all of the models together into one very large point cloud. Needless to say, it’s a lot of data!

But what was really interesting with this project is what we did afterwards. See, we actually performed this multi-UAS survey twice, once in January and once in April. In between, we generated sets of synthetic “damage” on targeted regions of the dam, since generating actual damage would have probably resulted in jail time. We then used a combination of three different computer vision methods to track changes in the 3D models. You can read more about this project HERE.