Development & Prototyping

Drones for Inspection of Highway Tunnels and Bridges

Autonomous drones are designed specifically for inspection in GNSS-denied environments of highway tunnels and bridges.


Inspection in GNSS-Denied Environments

Drone technologies are gaining popularity in civil engineering, particularly for inspections in areas with limited satellite signals. UAVs can assist in inspecting bridges, road and rail tunnels, ventilation shafts, pipes, and enclosed culverts, both externally and internally.

Regular inspections are essential, and their duration varies based on the size of the infrastructure. Without using modern inspection methods, this can prove very costly and time-consuming. Furthermore, the naked eye cannot detect all potential defects. Utilizing optical methods with high-precision and high-sensitivity cameras, drones are ideal for conducting initial assessments, thereby reducing costs, time, and the risk to specialized inspectors and other technicians in danger.

Autonomous drones can perform initial defect assessments in environments with limited or no GNSS signal, such as highway tunnels. Image source: MRS CTU


Autonomous Inspection Drones from Fly4Future

Members of the Fly4Future team have been involved in the successful development of a system for precise localization and navigation in GNSS-denied environments. The innovative technology is designed to capture high-quality images of specific locations in the complex tunnel environment with exceptional accuracy and efficiency.

The system’s ability to capture detailed images was tested under authentic conditions during the temporary closure of the Blanka Tunnel, the longest highway tunnel in the Czech Republic. This real-world test validated the system’s ability to operate safely in challenging conditions such as low light and dust.

It is also possible to use Fly4Future drones equipped with this advanced technology in the narrow auxiliary tunnels designed to vent exhaust emissions. The toxic environment of these ventilation tunnels poses a risk to the maintenance team. Our autonomous drones can accelerate inspections during active tunnel operations, reducing health risks to human inspectors by minimizing potential exposure to hazardous fumes, and potentially changing traditional maintenance practices.

The Fly4Future autonomous drone inspecting a tunnel ventilation system

Autonomous drone inspecting a highway tunnel ventilation system. Image source: MRS CTU


Smooth Transition Between GNSS and GNSS-Denied Environments

When inspecting bridges, it is important to note that the DNSS signal may not always be fully accessible. In order for a drone to effectively locate damage in close proximity to the bridge structure, it must be able to fly under the bridge structure and transition between areas with full GNSS signal and areas with insufficient or completely denied GNSS signal. This navigation process requires careful planning and a flexible approach to ensure that accurate positioning data is maintained throughout the flight.

While remotely operated equipment runs the risk of crashing into the bridge due to the human factor, Fly4Future autonomous drones can quickly and easily navigate around the bridge structure using advanced algorithms and flexible obstacle avoidance technology. This reduces the risk of collisions and increases overall operational efficiency. In addition, the use of a swarm of Fly4Future drones contributes to the overall shorter time frame required for inspection, as well as saving resources that would otherwise be spent on manpower and scaffolding.

The Fly4Future UAV Swarm inspecting a bridge

The Fly4Future swarm of autonomous drones effortlessly transitioned from GNSS to GNSS-denied environments while inspecting a bridge.

Start Building Your Drone Online

Build your drone with our custom drone-building tool DroneBuilder.

You will be able to:

  • Configure your drone exactly to your needs
  • Consult your configuration with our specialist for free
  • Use our expertise to find the right components
  • Perfect your drone design

Be one step ahead and save your valuable resources with our expertise gained from years of research, development, and countless successful real-world experiments.


What We Do

Custom Drone Builder

Custom Drones

We custom-build ready-to-fly, fully autonomous drones suitable for your research needs.

Development and prototyping

Development & Prototyping

We design and develop advanced autonomous aerial systems to meet the particular needs of our individual clients.

Research projects

Research Projects

We participate in many projects in various fields financed by the EU and Czech Republic, as well as private research institutions.