COPENHAGEN – A Danish engineering firm has successfully pioneered the world’s first self-suspending suspension bridge. Jensanders Engineering Inc., a small family-owned company from Roskilde has been awarded a worldwide patent on the design.
The bridge, designed and modeled in part on driverless vehicle software technology, and with a free-floating road deck, is the first in the world to suspend itself to span a waterway, without foundations and abutment anchors of any type.
The patent was granted only after the company was able to demonstrate that the bridge could operate in fully autonomous mode, with no danger to vehicles and humans crossing the full span.
Magnus Petersen, the CEO of Jensanders Engineering, outlined some of the challenges the company faced in bringing the groundbreaking project to fruition.
“Well, our biggest problem was finding a spot for field testing the prototype where our competitors wouldn’t get wind of it,” he said. “A suspension bridge is not something you can set up in your garage.
“That was our third biggest problem, actually,” said Hagen Peterson, the Chief Software Officer for the company. “The biggest one was getting the thing to levitate in the first place, and the second biggest was finding the right type of shielding for the main chip so someone working his iPad a block away wouldn’t suddenly send it a hundred metres to the left or right of the approaches, without any warning.”
Hagen Peterson explained that he and his brother Magnus, worked on the revolutionary self-suspending design for six frustrating years before they had a breakthrough. The prototype would spin out of control and crash into the water once a month, for no apparent reason.
“We finally traced the source of interference to the Northern Lights,” he said. They nearly drove the lidar sensors nuts. But after I covered the motherboard with aluminum foil, that settled it right down. I can operate it now on manual override from my smartphone”
His brother was quick to point out the hurdles that were still ahead.
“The prototype is only approved for a fifty metre span and a hundred and seventy tonne load,” Magnus said. “So we’ve really got a lot of work to do yet on the technology before we can take it to the market.” Source: FNT Staff
Photo credit: Original images at Pixabay,