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Looking Forward: Technology and Brownfield Redevelopment: Robots, Superdata, and Adaptive Reuse

04 Aug 2017 4:27 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Brownfield remediation always involves various types of risk. Financial, environmental, or health-related, these risks can potentially undermine the success and completion of remediation and redevelopment projects. However, thanks to high-tech innovations and advancements in analytics, new tools attempt to minimize risk and propel successful remediation and redevelopment projects.  Morgan Abele from Puls, Inc., Chris Gibson from VideoRay,  and  Zain Iqbal from JLT Specialty USA provided info to BCONE  on robots, superdata and droned at a recent session at NSCW  moderated by Skelly Holmbeck from Advanced GeoServices.

Brownfields are beginning to capture the benefits of the technology age. Robots, drones, and data analytics all interact to provide more in-depth, precise assessments than ever before. Morgan Abele of Puls, Inc. described the benefits of technology-based site analysis including non-intrusive services such as  ground penetrating radar and aerial drones to assess site characteristics. Aerial drones equipped with various forms of imaging hardware are able to access high-risk areas unsafe for direct observation. The different capabilities of various drones can generate 3D maps, modeling information such as contour and vegetation. This means sites remain undisturbed during the assessment, preventing further disturbance or destruction of the on-site resources and reducing risks

Aerial drones are not the only new tool in the remediation arsenal. Chris Gibson of VideoRay discussed many ways remote operated vehicles are changing site assessment. Underwater robots equipped with sonar, video, and GPS have proven valuable throughout remediation and redevelopment. Compact enough to fit in your luggage, these robots are highly mobile, quickly deployable, and affordable. By accessing areas unsafe or inaccessible otherwise, underwater robots and underground imagery provide a window into the unseen. The ability to increase our understanding of a site reduces uncertainty in a remediation plan.

These technologies greatly reduce uncertainty by improving our ability to assess a site,. Compiling the improved site assessment data together for holistic analysis provides a clearer picture of all potential risks. As a result, remediation and redevelopment are safer and more efficient. All of this is made possible by data analytics from robots, drones, cameras, and sonar. These technologies generate huge amounts of data.   Zain Iqbal of JLT Specialty explained how the combination of improved site assessment and data analytics helps projects confront the challenge of risk assessment and safeguarding their redevelopment investment.  Predictive analytics actually translates data into knowledge. This doesn’t just help project assessment and planning; it is now used to generate characteristic comparisons between sites. By targeting specific risks and potential losses, predictive analytics helps tailor the insurance options specifically to the optimal level for each project. This reduces unnecessary costs, decreases inefficiencies, and provides comprehensive risk analysis in conjunction with project planning.

Technology is undoubtedly transforming brownfield remediation. These innovations are invaluable to revitalizing contaminated sites, now and into the future.

BCONE thanks  Andrew Welch of CCLR for this article and thanks Andrea Poinsett of GEI Consultants for editorial assistance.

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