Bridge construction inspections require quantitative measurements and location information. The conventional approach is visual inspection, which in general, is rather time-consuming, expensive due to traffic closure, subjective, and needs special access. Therefore an automated rebar layout detection algorithm was developed to quickly extract quantitative rebar layout information from the LiDAR data. This systematic method can automatically cluster the bridge elements from a 3D point cloud by using LiDAR-equipped UAS data collection and unsupervised machine learning techniques. A new automated inspection system using a LIDAR-equipped UAS can eventually if developed and tested be more reliable as well as less expensive. In the future, if it can be automatized, it can be implemented to simplify the complexity of inspections. The authors developed a platform to mount the camera, sonar laser, and DAQ on the UAS and remotely controlled the data collection operation. Additionally, an algorithm was developed which can automatically obtain the geometric information of the rebar. The proposed automated RGBD-equipped UAS system was developed, fabricated, and tested in the Balloon Fiesta Park on a simulated bridge deck at different heights and with different UAS motions to obtain the best distance, speed, and motion for real construction field. The authors also conducted an outdoor experiment in a construction field at White Rock to validate the capability of the proposed system on the real site with vertical rebar and the challenges of the real construction site. The result confirmed that the LIDAR-equipped UAS system has the potential to help the inspection process in terms of time, accuracy, safety, and generating a permanent record of the inspection. Bridge construction information collected by LiDAR-equipped UAS technology can eventually provide bridge managers with transparent condition assessment and one-step decision-making support through quantitative measurement combined with 3D visualization to facilitate repair planning that can greatly facilitate maintenance.
Moreu, F., Sanei, M., & Lippitt, C. (2022). Increasing Bridge Durability and Service Life with LIDAR Enhanced Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). Retrieved from https://repository.lsu.edu/transet_data/135