Follow Datanami:
January 29, 2021

In Australia, AI is Building Bridges – or At Least, Maintaining Them

Infrastructure maintenance isn’t necessarily the most eye-catching application of futuretech like AI, but the potential is enormous: in the U.S. alone, increasingly dilapidated infrastructure is costing taxpayers trillions of dollars – and, at its worst, causing serious disruptions (or even injuries and deaths) when such infrastructure experiences critical failures. Now, a startup named Dynamic Infrastructure has won a contract in Australia to deploy a predictive AI technology for maintaining bridges and other infrastructure.

Dynamic Infrastructure, which is based in New York, Berlin, and Tel Aviv, partnered with IF3 Pty Ltd, an Australian engineering and consulting firm, for its infrastructure play. The multi-year contract, which covers the Horsham Rural City Council in Victoria, will see Dynamic Infrastructure’s solutions pitted against some of Australia’s increasingly overloaded infrastructure: particularly bridges, which cost the country around $78 million U.S. dollars a year in maintenance alone. (This is actually the provenance of the contract, which was funded by the Australian government’s Bridges Renewal Program.) Horsham, for its part, is located around a crucial highway, making the maintenance of its infrastructure especially important.

How will Dynamic Infrastructure apply its AI? Basically, the company’s deep learning software-as-a-service provides decision support that crunches past and present photos from bridge or tunnel inspection reports, alongside other visual references. Using these images, the live AI software identifies maintenance risks and defects that it anticipates will become hazardous in the future. 

A snippet of one of the “medical records” produced by Dynamic Infrastructure’s software.

Dynamic Infrastructure says that its product runs in the cloud and automatically alerts stakeholders when an item of interest emerges. In addition to the “medical records” the software creates for defects identified in photos, the company also provides a tailored, 3D digital twin of the infrastructure in question to sync with peers and contractors. The value proposition of the software rests on repairing faults before they escalate, as well as maximizing warranty claims through rigorous documentation.

Dynamic Infrastructure sees this contract – its first in Australia – as a foot in the door for what may be an extraordinarily promising market.

“Australia is making enormous efforts to use new technologies to manage and maintain its transportation network,” said Saar Dickman, CEO of Dynamic Infrastructure. “These moves offer huge potential for our company due to their sheer size and large number of infrastructure assets that need to be maintained.”

Outside of Australia, Dynamic Infrastructure is conducting projects for public and private clients across the U.S., Germany, Greece, and Israel: in total, including Australia, its software is monitoring 1,016 bridges and tunnels across eight territories.