Application of Unmanned Aerial Technologies for Inspecting Pavement and Bridge Infrastructure Assets Conditions Academic Article uri icon


  • Infrastructure in the U.S.A. was graded with a C in the 2021 ASCE report card. Frequent monitoring of infrastructure assets is key to ensuring the serviceability of the assets and safety of public users. Advancements in aerial technologies, compact sensors, computer processing, and image analysis software have given rise to various engineering applications of sensor-mounted unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) platforms. Several contactless sensors are being mounted on UAVs to conduct a comprehensive assessment of infrastructure conditions compared to a qualitative visual examination by an experienced inspector. Many transportation agencies in the U.S.A. have been using UAVs for applications ranging from the research stage to regular inspection activities. These applications are mainly focused on inspecting infrastructure assets such as pavements, bridges, substructures, railways, and other assets. The current research discussed the approaches followed to conduct aerial condition monitoring of transportation infrastructure assets using optical sensors mounted on UAVs. Qualitative and quantitative inspections of pavement, bridge, and substructure infrastructure case studies were performed. Pavement distress extents were measured in three dimensions and a 360 inspection of bridges was conducted by accessing hard-to-reach areas. Scaled views of the four sides of a bridge were developed and the challenges in data collection and processing were outlined. Further, a localized inspection was also demonstrated to show the feasibility of using photogrammetry for remote condition assessments post-disaster/emergency. Overall, the rich visualization, safety, flexibility, and ease of handling offered by these technologies are expected to transform the method of conducting infrastructure performance monitoring inspections in the future.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Congress, S., Puppala, A. J., Khan, M. A., Biswas, N., & Kumar, P.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Congress, Surya Sarat Chandra||Puppala, Anand J||Khan, Md Ashrafuzzaman||Biswas, Nripojyoti||Kumar, Prince

publication date

  • 2022