The overall research objective is to focus on developing UAV-based inspection and analysis protocols using infrared (IR) thermal imaging to determine the existence and extent of concrete delamination, with emphasis on the underside of bridge decks. This objective will be realized by answering the specific questions:
- Can IR technology be used effectively to identify concrete delaminations, especially on the underside of bridge decks where the concrete surface thermal differences may be only subtle due to very little exposure to direct sunlight. What type of thermal resolution is required? Sensor images will need to be “ground-truthed” with actual measured delaminations from tried and true methods. Also is there sensor equipment that can be used in handheld operation and attached to drones for flight operations.
- What type of drone hardware, Camera Specifications, Camera Mountings and Testing Attachments would provide the most cost-effective benefit for each type of data capture? This question will be answered through surveys and test trials of different UAVs. For optimal information gathering, it is envisioned that several technologies will be concurrently employed, and a significant outcome of the work will be an assessment of the relative value and optimum combination of technologies. (e.g. drone and infrared imaging systems).
- What data storage and retrieval systems and hardware are required for managing and easily re-using the potentially enormous volume of digitized information captured? Data storage and data transfer technologies make this a relatively simple problem. However, universal data sharing formats will need to be established early on.
- What software is available or will require development to efficiently process the captured data for human inspection and evaluation? Many generic systems of machine learning (including computer vision) are available and as such it is relatively easy to develop and train prototype systems. Once prototypes are tested, they can be turned into application-specific codes with an interface appropriate for field use.
Technical Committee Members
- TC Chair, John “Sam” Maxim: Maine Department of Transportation
- Vitalij Staroverov, Connecticut Department of Transportation
- Bruce Sylvia, Massachusetts Department of Transportation
- Nicholas Goulas, New Hampshire Department of Transportation
- Colin Franco, Rhode Island Department of Transportation
- Evan Robinson, Vermont Agency of Transportation
AC Liaison: Dale Peabody, Maine Department of Transportation
Project Coordinator, Kirsten Seeber, CTC & Associates
Tech Transfer Activities
- Sam Maxim, Dale Peabody and Kevin Ahearn met with Danny Tullier (Bridge Design/Instrumentation, LA DOTD) to provide information from the project, particularly related to IR thermography cameras.