Application of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Monitoring Airport Asset Surfaces Academic Article uri icon


  • Airports facilitate the fastest mode of transportation and connect local communities and businesses with national and international destinations. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 2021 infrastructure report card rated the aviation infrastructure category with a D+. This highlights the need for frequent monitoring and performing timely preservation techniques to ensure the optimal performance of the asset. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) periodically inspects the regional airports in Texas through visual surveys and estimates the pavement condition index (PCI) for each airport on a network scale. These ratings are used to assess the need for rehabilitation in a timely manner. In this study, an attempt was made to use an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) mounted with an optical camera to inspect and evaluate the condition of various airport assets. Several observations were outlined to conduct a safe inspection of airport assets using UAVs. A comparison of PCI values, grouped into three categories, obtained from traditional and aerial inspections was made to understand the feasibility of using this new technology for airport asset management. It was observed that both inspections classified most of the airport assets similarly. The traditional inspection was observed to be quicker as it requires inspection of only sampled units, however, UAV data processing takes a relatively long time to offer a comprehensive digital footprint and immersive visualization experience of the whole airport assets. Overall, UAVs are identified to have a great potential as a data collection tool supplementary to the current traditional practices.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Congress, S., Puppala, A. J., Treybig, C., Gurganus, C., & Halley, J.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Congress, Surya Sarat Chandra||Puppala, Anand J||Treybig, Clayton||Gurganus, Charles||Halley, Jim

publication date

  • March 2023