Macomb County uses drones, artificial intelligence to detect underground pipe defects in Michigan

(UI) – According to the Macomb Daily, Michigan’s Macomb County Public Works officials are using advanced technology to detect underground pipe defects more quickly and cost-effectively.

At the Chapaton Pump Station, Commissioner Candice Miller and her team demonstrated how drones and artificial intelligence (AI) are revolutionizing underground pipe inspections.

Previously, inspections were conducted by external vendors and analyzed manually, a process that took months or years. The new technology delivers results in days.

The Flybotix drone and SewerAI software, costing $100,000, replace a more expensive and slower process. The drone captures high-quality video of underground pipes, which AI then analyzes to identify defects. This method removes human subjectivity, ensuring consistent data.

Macomb County may be pioneering the use of such technology in the state. They have also constructed a floating device with a GoPro for inspecting pipes with flowing water. This device captures 360-degree video for AI analysis.

Since implementing these technologies, Macomb County has compiled inspection data for over 400,000 feet of underground pipe and 650 manholes. AI analysis has already helped defer expensive repairs, saving an estimated $4 million.

The new inspection system aims to prevent incidents like the costly 2016 Fraser sinkhole. Regular, thorough inspections will inform a capital improvement plan to maintain infrastructure and avoid failures, potentially saving millions of dollars.

This story was originally reported by the Macomb Daily.

Related News

From Archive


{{ error }}
{{ comment.comment.Name }} • {{ comment.timeAgo }}
{{ comment.comment.Text }}