CMU robotics researchers develop flying robots to find weaknesses in large structures such as bridges

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute are developing small, self-guided flying robots that use 3-D imaging technology to help engineers pinpoint and assess structural damage and other weaknesses in large structures, such as bridges and dams.

A prototype version of the Aerial Robotic Infra­struc­ture Ana­lyst, or ARIA, has already successfully mapped a small bridge, says Sebastian Scherer, systems scientist in the Robotics Institute. The researchers, which include four scientists and five students, hope to test their prototypes on a larger bridge this fall.