Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Augmented Bridge Inspection Feasibility Study

Departments of Transportation (DOTs) perform inspections at regular intervals for all assets including bridges. Bridges are inspected by teams of bridge inspectors and represent a significant portion of the budget within a bridge or structures division. Lowering inspection costs using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones would allow DOTs to more effectively use their funds in other areas such as rehabilitation or replacement of aging infrastructure. UAVs equipped with thermal and visual spectrum cameras, can be used to perform targeted investigations of sensitive regions. The UAVs can be flown by a pilot on the ground, programed to automatically follow a path and collect data for inspection using global positioning system (GPS). This may give the inspection team the more time to spend on other tasks or other bridges and reduce the need for inspection equipment like boom trucks. The purpose of this project is to assess the current state of UAV bridge inspection, identify challenges and shortcomings then propose and/or develop solutions. This will be accomplished by creating basic protocols for UAV image collection, geographical positioning system denied navigation and safe navigation. These tasks will first be performed and perfected in a controlled environment and later used in a tandem human-UAV inspection on an in-service bridge.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $114470
  • Contract Numbers:



  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation

    Rutgers University
    100 Brett Road
    Piscataway, NJ  United States  08854-8058
  • Project Managers:

    Szary, Patrick

  • Performing Organizations:

    Utah State University, Logan

    Civil and Environmental Engineering Department
    Logan, UT  United States  84332
  • Principal Investigators:

    Maguire, Marc

  • Start Date: 20160401
  • Expected Completion Date: 20170401
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01599021
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT13-G-UTC28, CAIT-UTC-NC31
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: May 17 2016 9:16AM