Congratulations to Gaist, the highways technology group, which has secured a prestigious award for its innovative BridgeCat project which applies a digital approach to bridge inspections.

Gaist and project partners, the Department for Transport and Cumbria County Council, received the New Civil Engineer Tech Fest Judge’s Supreme Award for the pioneering project. It is poised to play a key role in flood resilience in Cumbria this winter.

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BridgeCat, which was launched by Jesse Norman, the Roads Minister, uses an underwater camera, sonar and sensors in place of manual inspections to more effectively and efficiently gather detailed information about a bridge’s condition and to assess the damage caused by floods.

The project was launched following the winter storms of 2015/6 where 792 bridges in Cumbria were affected and communities were left isolated. Traditionally, divers are sent to assess damage once floodwaters have receded.

The Judge’s Supreme Award recognises the individual, company, research or project team that is doing most to ‘drive the industry forward through technology adoption’.

Gaist uses technology and a data-centred approach to transform the maintenance, monitoring and repair of key infrastructure.

It is best known for its work in the highways sector where it has amassed a vast library of detailed data about the road network. It supplies the data to local authorities, utility companies and other highways stakeholders to enable them to take better, more informed decisions about their assets.

Its detailed roads database – which contains 1.21 billion images – also positions it at the forefront of the autonomous vehicles revolution. Driverless car manufacturers will need access to ‘splines’ or digital maps to inform their vehicle routes.

Gaist’s potential was underlined earlier this year when it secured a £2.7 million investment from the private equity group, BGF. It has said it will use the funding to expand internationally and to further develop its technology.

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