The Minnesota Department of Transportation is currently looking into the viability to use drones to inspect bridges. With over 20,000 bridges throughout the State this is a pressing safety concern.
Drones could possibility save Minnesota a lot of time and money. In particular the current specialized trucks they use to inspect bridges cost $675,000 while the drones system would cost only $4,000. Drones can also inspect bridges faster, provide closeup shots of hard to reach areas under the bridge, and provide new data, like thermal imaging.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation will finish they testing this Spring and could start using the drones next year, if they are approved. However, even if approved Minnesota could be hamstrung by the FAA which still does not allow drone operations above traffic.