15:08 PM

Model Research

Pitt uses drone to create 3D model of new Fern Hollow Bridge construction


Above: Alessandro Fascetti, left, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, and Yingbo Zhu, a doctoral engineering student, attach a high-definition camera and laser under the hexacopter drone used to scan construction of the new Fern Hollow Bridge on Saturday, October 8, 2022. (Post-Gazette)

Alessandro Fascetti didn’t know his career as a professor of civil and environmental engineering would lead to him to become a certified industrial drone pilot, but that has become a regular part of his job.

Mr. Fascetti, an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, is part of a team preparing a digital model and history of the construction of the new Fern Hollow Bridge. The project involves piloting a hexacopter drone for 11½ minutes every two weeks to record photo and laser images of the progress of construction, about 170 million pieces of information each week.

The project received a $141,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to create the digital model, believed to be the first of its kind in the country. Mr. Fascetti’s team is following the emergency replacement of the bridge after the previous structure collapsed in January.

Read the full story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.