Robot-Assisted Inspection of Concrete Box Girders in Bridges

Austroads Ltd.
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Proceedings for the Austroads Conference 2011: Sustainable Bridges - The Thread of Society, 2011, pp. 335 - 346
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This paper describes a robotic solution to the structural health inspection of concrete box girders. A combination of sensors including a laser range finder, a depth (RGB-D) camera, an inertial measurement unit and a high-resolution camera are mounted on a tracked robot. The robot can be driven inside a box girder even when there are steps present, to collect high-resolution images of the concrete structure. Software that allows the information captured to be registered with a 3D geometric map of the inside of a box girder, and a visualization tool that can be used to evaluate location-annotated highly-detailed surface condition pictures by the human operator has been developed. The proposed remote evaluation technique makes it feasible to safely monitor areas over a sequence of inspections, leading to more effective maintenance procedures. The effectiveness of the system is illustrated using data gathered during a field trial where the robot was deployed within the Overpass at Huntleyâs Point, in the junction between Victoria Road and Burns Bay Road in Sydney. Functionality to automatically identify defects/regions of interest is also being investigated. It is anticipated that supplementing manual inspection tasks with robotic aids will mitigate the risk to manual entry into a confined space with a consequential saving in associated cost. This project is collaboration between the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and the Roads & Traffic Authority (RTA) of NSW.
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