More often sensors, drones, and AI (artificial intelligence) are being used to improve our infrastructure. Such is the case for a new program focused on reinforcing American dams and levees, which is led by researchers at the University of Kansas and U.S. federal agencies.
The objective is to develop repairs and retrofits with concrete dams in the United States. These New Deal-era dams and levees aren’t just showing their age; several have experienced catastrophic failures in recent years due to disrepair. In 2005, New Orleans’ levees were breached with disastrous results during Hurricane Katrina, while levees in South Carolina were breached during Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
Here is how technology can help:
- Eliminate traditional methods for assessing repair, which required dangling from ropes.
- Deep learning and computer vision can identify the location and severity of dam damage.
- Boost American transportation and commerce, as well as safeguard nearby communities.
Looking to the future, technology can be used to build our infrastructure back bigger and better than before—fiber-reinforced polymer materials can be used to build stronger infrastructure, while sensors, drones, and AI can do it in a way that is safer than ever before.