Commission approves AI software for Highway Department

Published 10:20 am Wednesday, June 19, 2024

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Chambers County Highway Department will soon be utilizing a new software service to streamline bridge inspections in the county, thanks to approval from the county commissioners during Monday night’s meeting. 

“Again, it’s not going to take the place of hands-on inspection,” said Josh Harvill, County Engineer, during the work session. “This is a software solution … utilizing a tool.”

The county commission approved an amendment to the agenda to approve Harvill to execute an agreement with Dynamic Infrastructure. The highway department will use the artificial intelligence (AI) software application to assist the Highway Department with bridge inspections.

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Harvill said the software uses the same data collection that his workers use, but when they run the data through the system, it is designed to work more efficiently and accurately. 

Using photos and data collected by the highway department crew, the software will also recommend priority repair and maintenance projects for them to focus on. 

Dynamic Infrastructure’s website states that the software uses a cloud-based system that “predicts precise actionable information from past inspection reports and day-to-day photos.” The software can provide municipalities with “maintenance alerts, prevent unplanned expenses and maximize annual budgets.”

Harvill added that the software has been used with success by many other municipalities across the country.

“We’ll still put the same amount of manpower into inspecting bridges but I think it’ll hopefully allow us to be a little more efficient with our prioritizing of our maintenance work and our replacement [projects],” Harvill said. “That’s the goal.” 

The total cost for the software agreement is $25,000. The agreement can be renewed after one year but does not automatically renew. 

Harvill added that the county is not required to bid out the software application due to a change in bid law last year which makes purchases of the kind exempt.