Ongoing Projects

Usage of drones for bridge inspections

Researcher: Alexander Jongerius
Project Duration: December 2017- February 2018
Project Partner: Rijskwaterstaat

Problem definition and research goal:

The first use of airborne remote sensing can be traced back to 1858, France, where Gasper Felix Tournachoin used a tethered balloon to take pictures of Paris. From this day on, the use of airborne remote sensing has become increasingly popular, cheaper and more widely available. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) equipped with stabilizer systems and professional grade cameras are available for as little as €1000. The definition of UAVs encompasses fixed and rotary wings UAVs, lighter-than-air UAVs (balloons and airships), lethal aerial vehicles, alternatively piloted aircrafts, and uninhabited combat aerial vehicles. UAVs are being developed at a rapid pace. Simultaneously, the development of sensors and instruments that can be used on these platforms is growing exponentially. These different sensors and instruments are already widely used in different sectors. The agriculture sector, especially, is one of the sectors where the use of UAVs is growing exponentially.

Within the Netherlands there are thousands of infrastructural objects, including bridges, viaducts, sluices and dikes. These objects are regularly inspected to ensure structural health/stability. Because of labor intensity and the objects’ unavailability for users during inspection, Rijkswaterstaat (RWS) is considering of using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for these inspections. 

The goal of this research is to determine the requirements and boundary conditions for using UAV’s to perform inspections.