Field Application of UAS-Based Bridge Inspection

Junwon Seo, Luis Duque, James P. Wacker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


The use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs), commonly known as drones, has significantly increased over recent years in the field of civil engineering. In detail, the need for a more efficient alternative for bridge inspection has risen because of the increased interest from bridge owners. The primary goal of this paper is to evaluate the efficiency of a drone as a supplemental bridge inspection tool. To complete this study, a glued laminated (glulam) girder with a composite concrete deck bridge was chosen in South Dakota, and a Dà-Jiāng Innovations (DJI) Phantom 4 drone, was employed to perform the bridge inspection. Based on the literature review, an inspection procedure with a drone was developed to efficiently identify damage on the bridge. A drone-enabled inspection was performed following the procedure, and resulting images were checked with those available in the past inspection report from South Dakota Department of Transportation (DOT). This study includes UAS-based bridge inspection considerations to capture appropriate image data necessary for bridge damage determination. A key finding demonstrated throughout this project is that different types of structural damage on the bridge were identified using the UAS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-81
Number of pages10
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© National Academy of Sciences: Transportation Research Board 2018.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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