Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)-Based Assessment of Concrete Bridge Deck Delamination Using Thermal and Visible Camera Sensors: A Preliminary Analysis

Infrared and visible cameras were mounted on an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to image bridge deck surfaces and map likely concrete delaminations. The infrared sensor was first tested on laboratory validation experiments, to assess how well it could detect and map delaminations under controlled conditions. Field tests on two bridge deck surfaces further extend the validation dataset to real-world conditions for heterogeneous concrete surfaces. Performance of the mapping instrument and algorithms were evaluated through receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves, giving acceptable results. To improve the performance of the mapping by reducing the rate of false positives, i.e., areas wrongly mapped as being affected by delamination, visible images were jointly analyzed with the infrared imagery. The potential for expanding the method to include other products derived from the visible camera data, including high density 3D point locations generated by photogrammetric methods, promises to further improve the performance of the method, potentially making it a viable and more effective option compared to other platforms and systems for imaging bridge decks for mapping delaminations.