Journal article Open Access

Robotic System for Inspection by Contact of Bridge Beams Using UAVs

Pedro J. Sanchez-Cuevas; Pablo Ramon-Soria; Begoña Arrue; Anibal Ollero; Guillermo Heredia

This paper presents a robotic system using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for bridge-inspection tasks that require physical contact between the aerial platform and the bridge surfaces, such as beam-deflection analysis or measuring crack depth with an ultrasonic sensor. The proposed system takes advantage of the aerodynamic ceiling effect that arises when the multirotor gets close to the bridge surface. Moreover, this paper describes how a UAV can be used as a sensor that is able to fly and touch the bridge to take measurements during an inspection by contact. A practical application of the system involving the measurement of a bridge’s beam deflection using a laser tracking station is also presented. In order to validate our system, experiments on two different bridges involving the measurement of the deflection of their beams are shown.

This work has been supported by the AEROCROS Project, funded by the Spanish Ministerio de Economia, Industria, y Competitividad (DPI2015-71524-R).
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