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UAV Bridge Inspection through Evaluated 3D Reconstructions

Authors: Chen, Siyuan
Laefer, Debra F.
Mangina, Eleni
Zolanvari, Iman
Byrne, Jonathan
Keywords: UAV;UAS;bridge inspection;laser scanning;photogrammetry;3D modeling
Issue Date: 16-Jan-2019
Publisher: ASCE Journal of Bridge Engineering
Citation: Siyuan, C., F., L. D., Eleni, M., Iman, Z. S. M., & Jonathan, B. (2019). UAV Bridge Inspection through Evaluated 3D Reconstructions. Journal of Bridge Engineering, 24(4), 5019001.
Abstract: Imagery-based, three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) holds the potential to provide safer, more economical, and less disruptive bridge inspection. In support of those efforts, this paper proposes a process using an imagery-based point cloud. First, a bridge inspection procedure is introduced, including data acquisition, 3D reconstruction, data quality evaluation, and subsequent damage detection. Next, evaluation mechanisms are proposed including checking data coverage, analysing points distribution, assessing outlier noise, and measuring geometric accuracy.  In this final aspect, the “Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement” was used. The overall approach is illustrated in the form of a case study with a low-cost UAV. Areas of particular coverage difficulty involved slim features such as railings, where obtaining sufficient features for image matching proved challenging. Shadowing and large tilt angles hid or weakened texturing surfaces, which also interfered with the matching process.
Description: Final published version available at
Appears in Collections:Debra Laefer's Collection

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