Structural inspections today rely on crawling over a structure and use inspection and physical testing techniques developed over the previous centuries. Harsh Rathod’s doctoral work was focused on using robotics and computer vision to assess the condition of dams, bridges, and other infrastructure. Niricson (which means “inspection” or “detailed investigation” in Sanskrit) is a direct product from Dr. Rathod’s research. It offers a proprietary AI-based defects detection and quantification software paired with a drone-based data collection technology for asset management. Rather than fly the drones itself, Niricson contracts out the work or helps clients set up their own programs which enables them to collect proper data using this technology. Asset owners can now conduct safer inspections by removing humans from crawling over structures, reducing costs, and producing condition assessments faster than traditional methods. This allows infrastructure owners to inspect more structures frequently with the same annual budget, and potentially prevent catastrophic structural failures.
Dr. Harsh Rathod
Harsh Rathod was working toward a PhD in civil engineering at UVic in 2016 when he learned that a bridge on the busy Mumbai-Goa highway that some of his family members often used had collapsed killing almost 30 people. Fortunately, his family was unharmed. That disaster focused Dr. Rathod’s doctoral work to the practical application of using robotics and computer vision to assess the condition of dams, bridges, and other infrastructure. Over the next several years, he developed drone-based software that makes infrastructure inspections faster, cheaper, safer, and more accurate—and uses signal processing to detect subsurface damage. Rathod co-founded Niricson in 2020, the year after he finished his PhD. Niricson, whose name means “inspection” or “detailed investigation” in Sanskrit, is a data analytics business. Niricson was accepted into the prestigious Techstars-Arcadis accelerator in the Netherlands. It also landed several dam-inspection contracts with BC Hydro and Power Authority.