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Here's How Artificial Intelligence is Being Used to Improve Bridge Safety in Miami-Dade County

The human bridge operator has a series of safety checks, but this is an added layer of protection to remove human error.


By Amanda Plasencia March 20, 2023

Artificial intelligence has its ups and downs, but the Florida Department of Transportation is using the upside of the technology to improve safety when opening and closing their bridges.

“Using technology to improve safety is something big for us and we’re doing it,” said Pablo Orozco, District 6 Structures Maintenance Engineer with the Florida Department of Transportation.

The AI pilot program with the FDOT began in 2019 and is being tested out on the 5th Street Bridge which goes over the Miami River. Engineers showed NBC 6 how the technology works.

“When it opens, we have defined an area that is unsafe for pedestrians or any cars or bicyclists and it will stop the bridge from opening if they are in that unsafe area,” said Orozco.

There are four sensors which are placed on the four corners of the bridge. The LIDAR sensors (which stands for laser imaging, detection, and ranging) can detect moving objects like pedestrians, cyclists and cars in a mapped-out inclusion zone. If someone passes through the barriers when they’re not supposed to, it sends a signal which automatically connects to the bridge controls to shut off.

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