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Covington uses drones to check roads

Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 6:41 PM EDT
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COVINGTON, Va. (WDBJ) - When a road is undermined from heavy rains, of course it has to be fixed.

“It’s a roadway that’s used very frequently,” said Trevor Ragno of Aeronyde, standing near the road work. “And it’s very critical for them to get this roadway repaired and up in working condition again as soon as possible.”

And one way to speed things up is a drone, launched to scan the area of the damage to let them know just what needs to be done with a 3-D map.

“Total time, we’re only looking at about only a 10- to 15-minute flight on a site like this,” Ragno said. “The data should take about two to three hours to process, and then from there we can already start annotating and sharing that information with all of the shareholders.”

“So within a day, the city’s able to go out there, see the extent of the damage, show this throughout the major stakeholders so they can make a plan of action for that budgetary approval,” explained Edgar Munoz, Aeronyde’s CEO.

Covington City Manager Krystal Onaitis said, “They’re able to catch things that the actual eye can’t, even trained inspectors, and the efficiency that they’re able to do it.”

It’s a process they’ve been doing with a little less urgency for the city all along Route 220.

“We did map the entire Route US 220 from the beginning of the city of Covington’s line up to the end, from the south to the north side,” said Ragno.

It’s a process that lets the city plan for future repairs.

“It’s truly fascinating what they glean from it,” Onaitis said, “Versus what we’re able to assess even with cameras or maps.”

Saving time and money.

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