On July 2 of this year – just after the well-publicized condo building collapse in Miami, FL – a building collapsed in downtown Buffalo, NY, highlighting the city’s aging infrastructure.
The city has a number of structures which are at least a century old, many of which are abandoned and of particular concern to city officials. In light of this concern, the city will now be working with the Buffalo-based company, Eagle Hawk, to provide drone-assisted building inspections in an effort to prevent future collapses and potential dangers.
“It’s a major problem across the U.S. (with) buildings that are high and hard to get to. Traditional methods of inspection are hard and expensive and dangerous. Therefore, a lot of managers don’t get information in a timely manner. Well, drone technology is changing that,” said Eagle Hawk CEO Patrick Walsh. “Drones carry sensors such as high-resolution cameras, zoom cameras that can detect damage, thermal-imagers that can see leaks in roofs, water intrusion or energy impacts that are not evident to the naked eye.”
The Eagle Hawk drones will also assist the fire department with safety assessments for fires and rescues, but there are no current plans to use drones to assist the police.
Eagle Hawk points out on its website that proactive inspections and maintenance procedures for aging structures are particularly important for cities which may experience harsh winter weather conditions – as is often the case in Buffalo. Cold temperatures, snow, ice, and high winds are often direct causes of facility damage.
“We know that preservation is important and the drone technology we will begin to employ immediately will give us a better read on problem properties across the City of Buffalo,” said Mayor Brown.