407 ETR and Mohawk College using drone technology to help workers with maintenancee
by CM Staff
The collaboration between 407 ETR and Mohawk College began in October 2022 as a pilot to assess the benefits of aerial drones for overhead signage and gantry inspections.
TORONTO — 407 ETR is collaborating with Mohawk College’s Unmanned and Remote Sensing Innovation Centre (URSIC) to test safer and more efficient ways of conducting visual inspections of overhead structures. Currently, employees physically climb overhead gantries to perform manual inspections while traffic passes underneath.
The collaboration between 407 ETR and Mohawk College began in October 2022 as a pilot to assess the benefits of aerial drones for overhead signage and gantry inspections and is expanding to other applications including bridges and stormwater ponds. Through this work, 407 ETR is identifying if drone technology can operate during the winter season. Inspections are usually conducted in warmer seasons to mitigate hazards associated with winter weather conditions.
“Though we’re extremely proud of our strong safety culture, there are inherent dangers that workers are exposed to when inspecting overhead signs. To conduct these inspections, they are at a significant height over live traffic,” says Tony Angelo, Director of Bridges at 407 ETR. “I’m optimistic the research done with Mohawk College will result in new and innovative ways of doing this work more safely.”
“This project has been an amazing collaboration between Mohawk College and 407 ETR, allowing our students to gain hands-on experience as ground crews and drone camera operators, and develop the experience needed for cutting edge technology jobs,” said James Kretz, Mohawk College researcher. “Through this project we’re aiming to reduce the risk to the 407 ETR inspectors, improve efficiency and extend their inspection season into the winter.”
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