SHM Roles in Autonomous Inspection and Preventive Maintenance of Bridges


Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) is leading a ten-partner, five-year University Transportation Center with a theme of “Inspecting and Preserving Infrastructure through Robotic Exploration (INSPIRE).” The goal of the INSPIRE Center is to transform in representative demonstration cases the current labor-intensive, inconsistent, and expensive ad hoc process of bridge inspection and maintenance into an efficient, safe, reliable, and cost-effective data-driven decision-making protocol. In this presentation, the needs for an autonomous bridge inspection and maintenance program are first established. A framework of such a program integrating sensor measurement, nondestructive evaluation (NDE), and data analytics into visual inspection through a mobile platform of robotics is then envisioned to improve the reliability of inspection data and results, streamline the inspection and maintenance process, and augment the inspection of fracture critical members. Next, key to the success of the program, structural health monitoring (SHM) technologies such as lab-on-sensor innovation for the understanding of structural behaviors, microwave imaging for the internal condition monitoring of bridge structures, and adaptive wavelet transform for the extraction of damage and deterioration from images are introduced. Finally, industry-university collaborations, which is critical to realizing the envisioned integrating framework, are discussed and the potential SHM impacts to bridge preservation are identified. In general, a global lab-on-sensor system is key to quantifying structural behaviors and, together with local NDEs, enables both qualitative and quantitative assessments of the condition of bridge systems or even transportation networks. The bridge condition identified during inspection can be used to prioritize the maintenance of bridges. An unmanned aerial vehicle with one or two remotely-controlled arms can potentially make bridge inspection and maintenance an integrated task. The autonomous inspection and maintenance program likely results in cheaper, faster, and more reliable solutions in bridge preservation.

Meeting Name

8th International Conference on Structural Health Monitoring of Intelligent Infrastructure (2017: Dec. 5-8, Brisbane, Australia)


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

INSPIRE - University Transportation Center


Keynote Address

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2017 International Society for Structural Health Monitoring of Intelligent Infrastructure (ISHMII), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

08 Dec 2017