The New York- and Tel Aviv-based startup Dynamic Infrastructure reports it is implementing the world's first deep-learning solution, which allows bridge and tunnel owners and operators to obtain visual diagnosis of the assets they manage. The system provides live, cloud-based, 3D views of the bridge or tunnel and automatically alerts when changes are detected in maintenance and operation conditions – before the issues evolve into large-scale failures.
The company is already conducting projects in the U.S., Germany, Switzerland, Greece and Israel with different transportation infrastructure stakeholders. The company's clients operate a total of 30,000 assets, ranging from Departments of Transportation to Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) and private companies.
Dynamic Infrastructure creates "medical records" for each bridge, tunnel and elevated highway based on existing images taken through periodical condition inspections over the years, including images from smartphones, drones and laser scanning. The proprietary technology compares old and archived images to new ones, detecting maintenance and operation issues, defects and anomalies. These 3D records serve as the basis for the alerts on changes in maintenance conditions. The diagnostics can be easily accessed through a simple browser and can be instantly shared with peers and contractors to speed maintenance workflows and increase return on investment.
"The world faces an infrastructure crisis,” said Saar Dickman, co-founder and CEO of Dynamic Infrastructure. "Specifically, deficient bridges and tunnels represent a severe infrastructure challenge in the U.S. and worldwide and their poor condition leads to life losses and millions in unplanned expenditures. Trying to repair America's deficient infrastructure without adopting new technologies will not work. Technology allows you to change the equation of one-dollar problem equals one dollar of solution. A single dollar of the right technology in the right place can save much more than one dollar of maintenance of a bridge."
In total, there are more than 616,000 bridges in America. Of those, more than 47,000 are structurally deficient and need urgent repairs, according to a report issued earlier this year by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). Americans cross these deficient bridges 178 million times a day.
The average age of a structurally deficient bridge is 62 years. More than 235,000 (38%) of U.S. bridges have identified repair needs. ARTBA estimates the cost to make the identified repairs for all 235,000 bridges is nearly $171 billion. The pace of repair in 2018 slowed in comparison to 2017, and therefore ARTBA warns that at this pace, it will take 80 years to make significant repairs in America's bridges.
Tunnels are no different. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), more than 350 highway tunnels have been identified in the United States. About 40% percent of these tunnels are now more than 50 years old; and approximately 5 percent of these tunnels already exceed 100 years of service. Therefore, according to Dynamic Infrastructure, a system of the type offered by the company is vital for maintaining and operating tunnels in America.
"Until recently, there has been no effective system that can quickly and precisely identify defects in bridges throughout their lifetime,” Dickman pointed out. “We provide actionable monitoring and alerts that can better manage expenditures and help prevent the next collapse. We are bringing the data revolution to the decision-making process of bridges and tunnel maintenance based on our cutting-edge imagery analysis.”
Dynamic Infrastructure, which operates from New York, Berlin and in Israel, was founded in 2018 by Saar Dickman and Amichay Cohen, who collaborated with a group of industry experts in the US and Europe who share the same vision – creating visual medical records for mega infrastructure elements, focusing on the challenging conditions of bridges and tunnels. Prior to Dynamic Infrastructure, Dickman served as VP Automotive Cyber Security at Harman, a Samsung-owned company, following the successful acquisition of TowerSec, his previous company, by Harman. Amichay Cohen served as the CEO of Carmel Tunnels and is currently acting as the COO of D.E Highways Management, where he is responsible for an annual revenue of $350 million, operating toll roads and toll tunnels.