Robotic Culvert Inspection
Stop Getting Your Feet Wet!
Visual inspection inside of culverts presents a range of challenges that may include wet or muddy environments, submerged debris, insect infestation (or other troublesome inhabitants), and a variety of other hazards. Sometimes it is even performed manually, with records of investigator observations kept using a pen and paper; a method that can lead to inconsistent results, incomplete records, and some very wet feet.
Culverts represent a critical component of both modern and aging infrastructure, with many found in a state of extreme disrepair and reduced functionality. Sometimes problems arise not from the culvert itself, but instead from changes in the surrounding terrain that create increased flow requirements. Regular inspections are critical to ensuring the safety of the roads and railways that rely on these culverts to move water.
Performing these inspections effectively requires an understanding of the design and expected performance of the culvert, along with the following three key factors:
Safety - Culvert inspection present potential hazards both to the people conducting the inspection as well as traffic flow at the site. Proper safety precautions are needed to protect workers and the public.
Culvert materials and condition- Culverts are supplied in a variety of materials, including corrugated metal, plastic, concrete (reinforced and unreinforced), and stone. Each material type has specific design criteria and installation techniques that apply, as well as a unique set of guidelines to follow and factors to consider in relation to culvert inspection.
Frequency of inspection - Single inspections, while valuable, are a "point-in-time" snapshot of the culvert's condition. Proper culvert inspection must also consider the history of the culvert in question. All culverts should be assessed as to their potential for risk and a regular inspection schedule should be established.
By utilizing a remotely operated crawler system equipped with video cameras and sensors, inspectors can gather all the information needed from outside the culvert, at safe distances from traffic and other dangers. Crystal Cam’s standard Delta crawlers are a perfect off-the-shelf solution for some of the most difficult challenges found with culvert inspection. They are not only backpack portable and battery powered (optional), but they are also completely water proof, easy to operate, and can be deployed within minutes by a single person.