Buckinghamshire County Council (Bucks CC), as with all Local Government departments, has a legal duty to ensure the safety of the travelling public when using its roads. Every two years they inspect some 600 bridges to ensure that they are 'fit for purpose'. As Buckinghamshire is an inland county, most of the bridges are small and low making them very difficult to access.
Faced with the prohibitive cost of employing divers (along with variable quality data being collected and safety concerns) Bucks CC decided to investigate unmanned methods of inspection. After researching the market they selected the VideoRay Remote Underwater Vehicle (ROV) from Atlantas Marine based in Yeovil.
Tim Rackham, Bucks CC Senior Bridge Inspector said: "As we are a local government office (as opposed to a company whose primary focus is underwater technology) we wanted a system that was easy to operate, fast to deploy, easy to maintain, portable and offer good value for money. We wished to be able to cruise at surface level and be able to look upwards to inspect the underside of our bridges. The need to be able to record inspection data and have a system of quantifying data was also important as this makes periodic monitoring possible. We looked at various ROV systems on the market and were struck by the versatility of VideoRay. The product provided excellent video capture and was rugged enough the work in our demanding environments. The accessories available are perfect for our requirements. The initial advice provided by Atlantas Marine was perfect for a newcomer; the ROVs and the after sales support have been equally impressive."
To date, Bucks CC has completed over 300 successful missions with their VideoRay!!!