IA, IoT or augmented reality … Here are the 17 winners of the call for connected bridges projects

Connected objects, big data and artificial intelligence will be used for the inspection of bridges. Following a call for “Connected Bridges” projects launched last December by the government, 17 laureates were selected. The list of projects aimed at securing these infrastructures was unveiled on Friday 23 April 2021 by Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, the Minister Delegate in charge of Transport.

Technology at the service of bridge inspections
Faced with the observation of the aging of this heritage, the State has decided to seek solutions based on connected objects, big data or artificial intelligence in order to automate part of the inspection of these structures. The aim is to prevent a tragedy such as the collapse of the Genoa bridge, which occurred in Italy in August 2018 and which claimed the lives of 43 people, from occurring in France.

Companies, universities and managers were called upon to propose solutions. In total, 39 files were submitted. The 17 selected projects, which have funding of 8 million euros, will be tested on a full scale on structures made available by voluntary communities. These experiments, which will begin in the coming months, will continue until 2023 in order to precisely study the contribution of the various solutions proposed.

The idea is to test innovative products to help communities monitor and maintain these infrastructures, detect faults or weigh the vehicles circulating on these structures. By collecting data in time, it is possible to alert the manager in the event of a failure. But also to assess the impact of climate change or changes in mobility on a structure.

Here are the 17 winners

  • Jetties: project for monitoring works with autonomous sensors.
  • Audacity: monitoring of bridges using sensors and aid in the diagnosis of structures subjected to shocks linked to the passage of heavy goods vehicles under the structure. The structure’s behavior parameters are measured in real time to identify any anomaly resulting from a road vehicle impact. An algorithm associates a description of the event, its effects and its severity with each signal detected.
  • Cahprees: autonomous RFID sensors are responsible for detecting the corrosion of guy wires and cables.
  • CI3S: project based on sensors and artificial intelligence algorithms to monitor structures and detect possible disorders.
  • Automatic detection of disorders: this project is based on the development of an application capable of detecting, analyzing and identifying the types of faults present in structures in order to better plan their maintenance. It is thought to be an aid in the diagnosis of structures thanks to images collected using a drone and analyzed by algorithms. A direct return is made to the inspector on tablet. At a later stage, this feedback will be done in an augmented reality telescope to allow direct visualization of faults and pathologies.
  • Geopont: Using radars that emit electromagnetic waves, this project aims to auscultate bridges and characterize concrete pathologies.
  • Gerico: this metal structure monitoring project is based on instrumentation type sensors using optical strings and accelerometers. The aim is to detect, or even anticipate, disorders while quantifying the stress on structures by traffic loads.
  • IA2: this scour detection project using sensors is based on the characterization of structural, static or dynamic health indicators. The project leaders seek to detect the loss of stiffness of a support due to structural relaxation caused by scour. An analysis made possible by digital instruments and markers.
  • Update: the aim is to detect damage to pavement joints using acoustic sensors and artificial intelligence algorithms that analyze the recorded sound signals.
  • Mimia: this project aims initially to use and process satellite images in order to identify the structures and assess their exposure to environmental risks. Secondly, tools for the automatic capture of geometric and photographic data will be implemented for representative structures. Finally, automatic processing tools for this data will be put in place to identify structures with serious defects in terms of safety, operation and structural strength.
  • Mirauar: the objective is to offer a tool to help the evaluation of structures by augmented reality.
  • Sofia: the aim is to set up a so-called intelligent tool for collecting and analyzing structural faults in order to improve the reliability of judgments and automate the examination of inspection reports.
  • SOS-A: this project proposes to develop a continuous, connected monitoring system of the scour phenomenon in the right of works at risk thanks to sensors, imagery and modeling.
  • Outlines: this project for the surveillance of masonry structures under current traffic and exceptional convoys aims to propose a method allowing a good understanding of the operation of these structures and their mechanical behavior.
  • Viasagax: the aim is to detect heavy goods vehicle overloads thanks to an automatic number plate reading system and display on a variable message sign
  • Vigi: this structure monitoring system with autonomous sensors seeks to provide robust indicators representative of the structural behavior of structures by analyzing the dynamic behavior.
  • Vivoa: the idea is to set up a tool for the inspector in charge of the assessment. He will be able to access a digital visual support capable of automatically detecting the most frequent disorders of conventional concrete or masonry structures.

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