Bridge deck underside evaluation with contacting and noncontacting UAS-mounted sensors
Publication Name: Proceedings Volume 12487, Nondestructive Characterization and Monitoring of Advanced Materials, Aerospace, Civil Infrastructure, and Transportation XVII; 124870Y (2023) https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2666185
Publication URL: https://www.spiedigitallibrary.org/conference-proceedings-of-spie/12487/124870Y/Bridge-deck-underside-evaluation-with-contacting-and-noncontacting-UAS-mounted/10.1117/12.2666185.short?SSO=1
Evaluating the underside is an important component of inspection, maintenance, and overall sustainability efforts for bridges. Underside inspection and evaluation of bridges is technically challenging due to difficulties with access, lack of customized nondestructive evaluation and health monitoring tools, and lack of well-established understanding of failure modes and degradation mechanisms. A critical problem is the spalling and delamination of concrete bridge decks, which can lead to dangerous conditions where concrete chunks may fall onto under passing vehicles. Conventional human inspection methods can be difficult, expensive and dangerous because gaining access to bridge deck undersides often requires the use of specialized equipment, such as snooper trucks, placing the inspectors at elevated and awkward poses, and redirecting traffic. UAS systems offer an attractive supplement to conventional methods. A UAS can access the underside of bridges and collect inspection and evaluation information, while the inspectors remain on the ground. This paper describes research towards developing UAS systems that can navigate on the underside of bridges and then collect image data, evaluate the image data with automated artificial intelligence methods, and use onboard nondestructive evaluation techniques including noncontacting microwave radar, and contacting acoustic response methods. Results from experiments, data analysis and signal processing will be presented.