MassDOT applies for USD1m funding, continues UAS digital infrastructure development

The Aeronautics Division of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has applied for USD1 million in funding from the Federal Highway Administration’s “Accelerated Innovation Deployment (AID) Demonstration” Program, funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and authorized to accelerate innovation in highway transportation.

The proposal represents the second stage of a three-phase project, using Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) to create a “digital software systems infrastructure.” The system converts UAS remotely sensed data into actionable information designed to help optimize the management processes and operations of MassDOT’s Highway Division.

Funding for this stage would complement the project’s initial phase, for which MassDOT Aeronautics received USD1 million from the AID program in 2021. MassDOT matched the initial AID grant funding with additional funding of USD250,000, the same proposed match for the current proposal.

The UAS-based digital infrastructure is designed to integrate with MassDOT Highway projects across Massachusetts, ranging from rural to urban locations, supporting a range of projects, including advanced bridge inspection, asset mapping, construction monitoring, and highway corridor asset detection/inspection.

“By using drones to collect and analyze data on highway infrastructure, this second phase of our project represents a significant step toward leveraging new technology to help MassDOT Highway improve management processes, strategic planning, and operations,” said MassDOT Aeronautics Administrator Jeff DeCarlo.

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