Michigan Tech To Fly Drones At Intelligent Transportation Convention

HOUGHTON — The Michigan Tech Research Institute will be flying its unmanned aerial vehicles before thousands at the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress in Detroit Sept. 7-11.

MTRI is an Ann Arbor-based research office of Michigan Technological University in Houghton.

Colin Brooks, environmental science lab manager at MTRI, and Steven J. Cook, project manager at the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will demonstrate MTRI’s family of UAVs, from a micro-UAV that can fly through a culvert to assess its condition to a tethered traffic-monitoring blimp.

The demos will take place in the Michigan Spotlight section of Cobo Hall and at Belle Isle. A video produced by MTRI and MDOT will be shown.

More than 12,000 researchers, transportation agency and company representatives from around the world are expected to attend the ITS World Congress.

Other topics on the program of the enormous international conference include connected vehicles, smart cars, driverless vehicles, transportation policy and transportation apps.

MTRI has been working with the Michigan Department of Transportation to use UAV technology to provide visual inspections of roads, bridges, traffic patterns and confined spaces such as pump stations, sewers and culverts. UAV-based optical and thermal infrared imagery is used to evaluate surface and structural integrity of bridges. LiDAR (light detection and ranging) is another remote-sensing technology that can catch a ride on a UAV.

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