A pair of engineers with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have developed software that they hope will change the way engineers assess damaged structures.

Doctoral student Ebrahim Mohammadi say the software, co-created by Assistant Professor Richard Wood, uses data gathered from remote sensing technology, such as drones with LIDAR imaging capabilities.

“We developed software that uses remote sensing data to analyze the surface of structures for any type of damage,” says Mohammadi.

Because of the ability to use the technology remotely, engineers inspecting damaged buildings could stay a safe distance away, according to Mohammadi. He says currently, to inspect an area of interest, engineers need to spend a significant amount of time and manpower, not to mention potentially put their lives at risk poking around a damaged bridge or building.

Assistant Professor Wood says the software mines data within LIDAR scans for “point clouds”, or points in 3D space.

“Once we have that data set,” says Wood “our software actually goes into the point clouds and mines them for features of interest.”

Wood adds that allows an engineer to work without having to get too close.

Wood says the goal of the software is to enable superior decision making in the future of infrastructure.

Source: Nebraska Radio Network