Recognizing the Future

NASSCO releases guidance document on artificial intelligence for condition assessment.

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NASSCO’s mission is to set standards for the assessment, maintenance and rehabilitation of underground infrastructure and to assure the continued acceptance and growth of trenchless technologies.

Written in 1976, our mission statement is as true today as it was back then. I wonder if the authors could have ever in their wildest dreams imagined that this statement would hold true in 2022 as we apply it to automated defect recognition — or artificial intelligence — as the technology is being adopted in the assistance of identification of conditions in underground infrastructure.

Over the past two years, NASSCO has seen a significant uptick in companies bringing to market software and services that utilize our intellectual property: The Pipeline Assessment Certification Program codes, in addition to codes from NASSCO’s Lateral and Manhole Assessment Certification programs. Working with these companies to ensure they are in full compliance as they develop products and services that utilize NASSCO’s intellectual properties, we have made available NASSCO’s ADR licensing agreement. This agreement applies to programs that employ machine learning, artificial intelligence, ADR or other technologies to assess, either with or without operator assistance, the condition of pipelines, manholes and manhole components, and/or laterals using NASSCO’s intellectual properties. If you are a provider of ADR technology that utilizes NASSCO PACP, LACP or MACP codes, please contact Heather Myers at to ensure full compliance.

After a year of hard work by an internal NASSCO workgroup, a guidance document on ADR has also been published to help guide our industry as we move forward with this emerging technology. The document (available for free download at, presents the authors’ current understanding of the technology and its advances.

While ADR software is making strides in the underground infrastructure assessment market, products may not yet meet the current NASSCO standards for conventional assessment (import/export) software programs. Given that many ADR platforms rely heavily upon NASSCO’s intellectual property, NASSCO must allow a way for those companies wishing to use its assessment programs to be licensed and evaluated for accuracy without diminishing the standards NASSCO has established.

As the market evolves, NASSCO’s Software Committee, Infrastructure Assessment Committee, Technical Advisory Council and other industry professionals will determine the best approach for assessing and rating ADR software products and their level of accuracy as they pertain to NASSCO’s PACP, LACP and MACP codes. While that process has not yet been defined, NASSCO will ensure that it presents a fair picture of the technologies’ current capabilities and how they are applied in the field, knowing that it will evolve as the technology becomes more developed, advanced and accepted in the future.

To learn more, to become involved in the development of specifications and guidelines pertaining to ADR technology and to become a NASSCO member, please visit 


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