The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Non-Destructive Testing IZFP in Saarbrucken, Germany have been working on building robots that can inspect buildings for damage. The current prototype, which made its first inspection in 2011, significantly reduces the amount of time needed to inspect, compared to having a human carry out the inspection, and also does not interfere with the usage of the building. Germany has put a strong focus over the past few years on inspecting many of the country’s concrete buildings. Most of these structures were built in the years following World War II and have begun to deteriorate over the last 60 years due to heavy loading and inclement weather. The current standard of using test engineers to inspect buildings with their naked eye is both time consuming and not completely accurate. It can also require special equipment such as cranes and helicopters to inspect parts of structures that are difficult to reach.

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  • Date occured Friday, 18 July 2014

The Federal Highway Administration traveled to Pennsylvania last week to demonstrate the capabilities of their new million-dollar bridge inspection robot named RABIT (Robotic Assisted Bridge Inspection Tool).  The Federal Highway Administration chose to demonstrate the robot's capability in front of members of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation because Pennsylvania has the most structurally deficient bridges of any state in the United States. The state is also home to the oldest bridges by average and has the third most bridges of any state. The FWHA believes that RABIT will become invaluable to DOTs around the country in the near future as a way to cut down on the manpower needed to inspect bridge decks.

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  • Date occured Thursday, 12 June 2014