Using Drones to Detect Damage to Bridges Workshop | Critical Infrastructure Inspection Project
The Pacific Northwest Economic Region and its Center for Regional Disaster Resilience in partnership with Northeastern University’s Global Resilience Institute (GRI) were awarded a 2017 National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) Security and Resilience Challenge grant for critical infrastructure. Held in Lakewood, Washington, this workshop presented the results of the technical research team (GRI) at utilizing self-directed drone technology (algorithms) and LIDAR to inspect damaged bridges in a post disaster scenario.
Critical Infrastructure Reentry and Situational Awareness Project (CIRSAP) | 2019 Resilience Challenge Grant
The Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER) and its Center for Regional Disaster Resilience (CRDR) were awarded a 2018 National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) Security and Resilience Challenge grant for critical infrastructure. With this grant, the CRDR sought to develop methodologies to allow for the rapid inspection of critical infrastructure in post-disasters using drones --also called Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). This information would then be shared with state-level emergency management agencies to establish better situational awareness and a common operating picture.
The CRDR invited four states to participate in the project: Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. The first goal was to establish a working group of interested public and private sector infrastructure owners and operators within each state. A public-private, stakeholder-led workshop was then held in each state which provided the opportunity for public and private critical infrastructure owners and operators to be briefed on and then share their needs and concerns about partnering with the government sector in their respective states. The feedback from each workshop was then incorporated into a Concept of Operations (CONOPS) for each state.
See below for the project description, or read more here about the Project Team, Project Deliverables, and Stakeholder Commitment.
86% of the nation’s critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector. There is a need for rapid damage assessment of these critical infrastructures immediately following a disaster. Emerging drone technology is allowing for an expedited and detailed damage assessment of infrastructures by owners and operators. To accomplish this work requires that the private sector have access to disaster zones to conduct damage assessments and then be able to share information rapidly with state emergency management agencies so that a common operating picture can be established.
This project scope includes the development of plans, procedures, processes, and mechanisms for the collection and exchange of damage information. This information will assist both infrastructure owners and the public sector to obtain faster situational awareness on the status of their infrastructures, and other interdependent infrastructures that may impact their ability to provide services, and products to their customers. This information will be transmitted to state EOCs and used to create a common operational map that can be shared with the federal government, lower level jurisdictional organizations and the private sector.
The intent is to work with four states in the Pacific Northwest: Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. These states will be invited to participate in the project. The first goal will be to establish a working group of interested public and private sector infrastructure owners and operators within each state. Then there will be a public-private stakeholder led workshop for each of the four states. These will be sessions that invite public and private CI owners and operators to be briefed on and consider their needs and concerns about partnering with the government sector and their respective state. The outcome of the workshop will ideally be the initial formation of operational concepts that will be incorporated into a CONOPS for that state.
A CONOPS for access into disaster zones and the sharing of information will be prepared for each state. As part of this CONOPS, the process for private sector CI owners to gain access into disaster zones will be formulated for each state. This element of the CONOPS will use the existing state access control methodologies that they have in place or develop a simplified process for access so that drones can be used to gather damage assessment information. The CONOPS will also specify the communications channels and data file type for transmission.
A demonstration drill will be conducted in one state, with one infrastructure owner and operator that implements the CONOPS. This drill will use the established process for a private CI owner to obtain access to a disaster zone, fly a simulated damaged area with a UAS, and transmit simulated disaster damage information to the state Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
The above drill will be open to observers from other infrastructures and state emergency management officials. Lastly, the longer-term goal is to demonstrate this UAS to EOC situational awareness feed at scale in real-time during the Cascadia Rising II exercise planned for 2022.