TTC uses drone to advance condition assessment

The Trenchless Technology Center (TTC) at Louisiana Tech University has successfully piloted new internal condition assessment technology using a customised drone.

The drone was specially purchased and designed for use in confined spaces, like pipelines, by the family of civil engineering graduate student Brice Gillikin, who own a business in Bastrop, Louisiana specialising in industrial inspections.

A demonstration of the technology took place on 27 April, with the objective of evaluating the ability of the drone to fly through a pipeline, as well the machine’s ability to capture image data.

The Elios collision-tolerant drone, equipped with CCTV and thermo imaging cameras, was flown through an active 72 inch (1,829 mm) storm drain, part of the Ruston Department of Public Works network.

The drone also inspected two dry, aboveground pipelines 18 inch (457 mm) and 24 inch (610 mm) in diameter.

When Ruston Department of Public Works Director Mr Darrell Caraway was approached about using the drone for condition assessment he was eager to cooperate with a pilot project.

TTC and the utility have entered into a partnership to establish a ‘Living Lab’ which will permit the evaluation and validation of the technical challenges associated with underground infrastructure.

While there was a short notice for the drone demonstration, TTC was excited to have representatives from CUES, HDR, Atkins, CDM Smith, HGA, KSA Engineering, FTN Associates, and Deforest Engineering Consultants present during the trial.

For more information visit the LA Tech website.

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