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Toshiba Testing Experimental System to Monitor Infrastructure Integrity in UK

30 Jun, 2014

TOKYO—Toshiba Corporation (Tokyo: 6502)  today announced that it has developed an innovative means for monitoring and detecting deterioration and damage, including cracks, in bridges and tunnels, and that it is undertaking proof of concept testing of a prototype of the system in the UK in partnership with the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC) at the University of Cambridge.


The testing is taking place in a 2km utility tunnel in London owned by National Grid plc, and involves capturing high-resolution images of the tunnel lining, using the data to construct 3D images and comparing images for changes including cracks. Testing started on May 14 and will run for approximately five months.


Toshiba and CSIC have applied their image-processing technologies to the development of a visual inspection system for detecting abnormalities in structures like tunnels. The system employs "three-dimensional reconstruction techniques" to combine multiple digital photographs into a 3D image of the target and "image change detection techniques" to compare two or more images recorded at different times and detect any changes.


In the London experiment, a 2km transmission line tunnel is being used for live testing of the system. This will allow Toshiba and CSIC to verify practical application on a large, real-world structure, and to confirm that inspection can be carried out more efficiently than existing labour-intensive methods. The company’s target is a system that costs about one-tenth that of conventional degradation diagnosis.


Recent years have seen aging infrastructure become an increasingly serious concern, both in Japan and overseas, underlining the importance of effective maintenance. However, visual inspection, the conventional method for checking for deterioration in structures such as bridges and tunnels, takes time and manpower. Toshiba has developed know-how that opens the way to low cost inspection of various types of infrastructure. Going forward, Toshiba expects to commercialize the system in fiscal year 2015, in the global market.


About the testing

Period:     May 14 to September 30, 2014

Venue:      A National Grid plc transmission line tunnel in London.

Details:     Record images of a 2km tunnel with a robot using consumer-grade digital cameras, and from the 2D images construct a 3D image of the tunnel. Use the 3D images to detect and measure any change in the tunnel structure.

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