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DamGPR Drone: Transforming Structural Health Monitoring

Wed, 14 April, 2021

The DamGPR Drone Project was created to develop the use of ground penetrating radar (GPR) enabled drones for the inspection of dam structures.

The drone technology is designed to maintain a constant distance as it maps the dam’s internal structure for fault detection and analysis.

TWI has been working alongside Autonomous Devices and Quantum Leap JMB Marketing (QLM) on the project, which undertook an examination of structural health monitoring as part of the work:

  • The Importance of Structural Health Monitoring

Structural health monitoring is important for the assessment of a range of assets. It is also seen to be an expanding market as more stringent government regulations promote growth in places including China, India and South East Asia. In addition, the United States is expected to dominate the market with an estimated worth of 1.1 billion USD by 2025. Research demonstrates that drones could be used to supplement existing technologies with the related safety measures and standards due to follow.

You can see more about structural health monitoring and the Dam GPR Drone Project here.

The consortium also undertook a market analysis in support of the project:

  • DamGPR-Drone Project: Market Analysis

The project investigated potential markets for the project outside of dam inspection. These markets included utilities and infrastructure, geological and seismic, oil and gas, nuclear power, military and construction. These markets open up possibilities for the technology to be used to improve the safety of inspection procedures (as well as costs), detect radioactive objects during nuclear decommissioning, locate buried explosives and landmines, and perform geological surveying and mapping. 

See more about the DamGPR Drone Project market analysis, including examples of use, here.

Of course, the project’s initial aim is to provide a safe and effective method for dam inspection, with an initial and growing market being the Philippines:

  • Markets in the Philippines and Elsewhere

Hydropower is seen as a powerful untapped resource for power generation in the Philippines. As hydropower sites come into operation, the need for effective inspection increases, and DamGPR Drone can help meet this need. The addition of a potential heightening of legal inspection and monitoring requirements means that DamGPR Drone could be perfectly timed to meet global demand.

Click here to see more about markets in the Philippines and elsewhere.

As highlighted by the market analysis, the DamGPR Drone Project also offers potential uses in other industries, and the project team investigated some of these applications in greater detail:

  • Alternative Applications for DamGPR Drone

Technology developed during the GPR Dam Drone Project can readily be used in areas outside of dam inspection and monitoring. GPR-enabled drones have already seen use in a range of applications related to everything from archaeology to rail as well as for environmental and humanitarian applications.

Find out more about the potential applications for DamGPR Drone here.


The DamGPR Drone project has received funding from Innovate UK under file reference number: 133909

For more information please email: