Japan will useAI Technical use with bridge and tunnel inspection, Improving efficiency, Reducing the burden of AI use

Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism will begin developing artificial intelligence (AI) to support civil engineers by inspecting infrastructure such as bridges and tunnels on roads. There is a lot of infrastructure developed after a period of high economic growth and a high level of ageing, but the municipalities that maintain and manage it face a shortage of human resources. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism is also committed to supporting the development of robots at work, with the aim of reducing the burden by improving efficiency.

A worker checks a test in the upper part of the tunnel

According to the Ministry of Finance of Japan, from July 2014, every five years, the state, prefectures, etc. that manage bridges and tunnels will be inspected. Technicians are checking nearby bridge girders and walls for corrosion and cracks from collisions and listening to sounds. Photos are taken of areas where anomalies are found (including minors) to determine if they need to be fixed, but sometimes you will take 10,000 photos on a tunnel.

According to the plan, finding an automated drone and robot is an anomaly in the base shot of the check, and the AI is selected to need to fix a spot on the base of the possible photo. The technician confirms the classification data and determines whether the fix should be finalized. The budget for the next fiscal year has recorded 710,000 yen so far repaired data to the standard of taking giant photos and engineers to learn AI in collaboration with researchers.

According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan, there were about 720,000 bridges (over 2 meters) and about 10,000 tunnels on the country's roads as of the end of 2004. Of the 400,000 bridges of known construction age at the end of 2005, 23 percent of the bridges with a 1-in-50-year event as an indicator of deterioration, compared with 33 percent in March, were almost three times as large. The number of tunnels over 50 years old will also increase from 19% to 41%.

On the other hand, among road managers, as of 13 April 2001, the number of staff in the civil engineering sector in Japanese cities was about 91,100, about 30,000 lower than the peak in 1996. There are many persons in charge of less than 5 persons and there are cases of simultaneous performance. As at the end of March 2005, almost three years after enforcement, only 557 of the 2254 municipally managed tunnels had been inspected.

As described by those involved, "Most local governments want to ease the burden of inspections and want to spend to fix infrastructure, and I want to use AI and other ways to ease the burden on municipalities that are short on human resources. "

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