Thursday, June 30, 2016

Drone inspects New Mexico river dam

No one says the 100-year old Elephant Butte Reservoir Dam is in any danger. But it is the first Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) dam in America to try out drone technology for some of its safety inspections. “So when there’s new technology out there, we will take our structures within Reclamation, we will apply those under a research type activity, just to see if they can be used in the future,” said Reclamation Assistant Area Manager Ken Rice. Some in USBR are hoping drones will be able to find cracks and other issues and reduce the need for workers to hang over the sides of dams on long ropes. They also hope drones can reveal new information about the dam by surveying the structure with other sensors like infrared instruments. The drone buzzing around the Elephant Butte dam this week is a single-rotor small helicopter called the Avenger. Built by Denver-based Geotech subsidiary Leptron, it is packed with a high resolution camera and other sensors that can create an extremely accurate 3-D computer model of the dam...more

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