RTA using drones
RTA has started using artificial intelligence drones to detect violations by heavy trucks. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Dubai is using artificial intelligence-powered drones for field inspections of heavy trucks, improving operational efficiency and brining into reach hard-to-access parts of the large vehicles, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) said on Sunday.

The inspection teams of RTA’s Licensing Agency have embarked on this type of inspection of heavy vehicles since last year, it said. Mohammad Nabhan, Director, Licensing Activities Monitoring, Licensing Agency, RTA, said: “We had identified all the various cases of heavy vehicles that can be inspected using drones. This creative national initiative utilises artificial intelligence technologies on-board drones to carry out inspections of trucks. RTA has trained nine officials who were accredited by the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority to act as drone operators.”

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Catching violations

“The drone inspection had improved the operational efficiency of field inspection of heavy vehicles and eased the difficulties encountered by inspectors when inspecting parts of heavy vehicles, which are normally difficult to access. Since we started using drones in heavy vehicle inspections last year, we have conducted more than 300 inspections, recording 580 flying minutes and resulting in reporting 48 offences.”

How drones help

The use of drones in field inspection of heavy vehicles reduces the vulnerability of inspectors to incidents associated with climbing up the vehicle to inspect the upper areas and verify the technical faults and aspects related to shipping and loading instructions to detect any violations related to cargo stipulations, he added.

Main offences

The main offences listed in this regard are unlicensed protruding cargo, failure to cover the cargo as per the approved stipulations, use of the heavy vehicle in loading and transporting cargo not designated to that type of vehicles, failure to distribute the cargo properly, failure to secure the cargo or loading the cargo in a way that constitutes risks to others or damages the road, monitor trucks with technical faults (such as body erosion), and report trucks avoiding inspection points.

Overall strategy

This initiative is compatible with the ‘UAE Strategy for the 4th Industrial Revolution’ launched in 2017. The strategy aims to enhance the role and profile of the UAE as a global hub for the ‘4th Industrial Revolution’ and contribute to a competitive national economy driven by knowledge, innovation, and futuristic applications that integrate physical and digital technologies.