Congress is currently considering a invoice to help state, local and tribal governments use drones to visually inspect critical infrastructure.
The Drone Infrastructure Inspection Grant Act was introduced by Rep. Greg Stanton, a Democrat from Arizona, and Rep. Garret Graves, a Republican from Louisiana. It provides $100 million in grants to local governments to use drones to inspect infrastructure and help reduce the country’s inspection backlog. It is also providing an additional $100 million to train the next generation workforce to use this technology.
“Using a drone to inspect infrastructure in hard-to-reach places like under bridges can speed up the inspection process so we can deal with the backlog faster, and it can also help save money. money,” Stanton said. “Not only that, but drone inspections are much safer for workers than having a human suspended under a large bridge. It’s an easy way to improve workplace safety.
Many state departments of transportation, tribes, and municipalities are already using drones to augment human inspections when inspecting bridges, roads, dams, and electrical substations. The Arizona Department of Transportation, for example, uses drones to inspect bridges and conduct surveying work along state highways. Drones are also useful for surveying areas after natural disasters, such as wildfires, to determine the extent of damage and whether areas are safe.
The bill was approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and won support from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National League of Cities, National Association of Counties, National Council of State Legislatures, National Association of State Aviation Officials, American Association of State Highway and Transportation. Officials, Commercial Drone Alliance and Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.
Read the bill and track progress in Congress