Application of UAV System in Bridge Detection

1. Application of UAV system in bridge inspection

1.1 Advantages of UAV System in Bridge Detection

For the detection of steel cables, piers, pier supports, pylons, bridge abdomens and other parts of the bridge and the bolts falling off, the drone has many advantages.
(1) The drone can directly reach the inspection site without any other auxiliary measures, saving costs;
(2) Detecting dangerous places such as bridge piers, bridge seats, bridge abdomen, etc., without the need for scaffolding or hanging baskets to cooperate with personnel detection, greatly improving safety;
(3) For some parts of the bridge abdomen and Cable that cannot be reached, the drone can be close to the observation to learn more details;
(4) During the daily inspection of the bridge, especially the urban bridge, there is no need to close the road to interrupt the traffic;
(5) Under the premise of weather conditions, the implementation of inspection bridges has high timeliness;
(6) With the maturity of the technology of the drone itself, especially the flight safety is guaranteed, the UAV is used for the bridge detection to enter the practical stage.

1.2 Application Status of UAVs in Bridge Inspection

With the continuous advancement of drone technology , reports on the use of drones for bridge inspection have emerged. The inspection process is usually carried out by two technicians (one person controls the flight control system and the other controls the PTZ control system to take photos) to complete the flight and shooting of the drone, and then the acquired data is transmitted back to the background system for processing. At present, the main agencies that use UAVs to carry out bridge inspection are the major research institutes. The test content mainly includes the following aspects.
(1) The UAV flies along the detected surface of the bridge, and completes the photographing and evidence collection of the structural planes such as the bottom surface of the bridge, the cylinder surface and the beam through control devices such as mobile phones or remote controls, and returns the collected data to analyze the cracks of the bridge for professionals. The state provides the basis for timely detection of dangerous situations, greatly reducing the work intensity of bridge maintenance personnel and improving the efficiency of bridge inspection and maintenance. Crack identification accuracy can reach sub-millimeter levels, even gaps of 0.1 mm can be identified.
(2) The UAV and the sensor cooperate to complete the bridge data collection. The method is to place wireless sensors on the piers and joints, and collect data such as structural vibrations when the vehicles are coming and going. The drone periodically hovers over the sensor to obtain data, and the detailed photos of the aerial bridge are uploaded to the central computer for data analysis.
(3) UAVs play a very important complementary role in bridge management. Mainly by means of the aerial advantage of the drone, by carrying high-definition cameras or night vision sensor equipment, it can effectively monitor bridge road surface diseases, traffic jams, loads and many other situations.

1.3 Limitations of existing UAV platforms in bridge inspection applications

(1) When conducting the inspection of specific parts of special bridges, effective route planning cannot be carried out, especially the planning accuracy cannot meet the requirements of bridge inspection;
(2) At present, the usual practice is to use artificial flight to meet the daily detection of the bridge. However, while approaching the observation, there are also many problems in the manual control. For example, the pilot will have a dizzy feeling when watching the video for a long time at a close distance;
(3) When the flight reaches a certain height and distance, it is easy to form a fusion with the background of the far air, and it is impossible to effectively monitor the flight conditions;
(4) The distance between the flight position and the observation component cannot be effectively controlled;
(5) Due to the similarity of the bridge structure, the detection data cannot be related to the specific part of the bridge physical structure.

2. Asian-style UAV bridge detection system program

2.1 Main functions of UAV bridge detection system

• Automatic collision avoidance, return flight, alarm, wind balance.
• Combined with the 3D model of the bridge to form a good control interface for automatic route planning.
• Data intelligence analysis to provide a basis for bridge disease assessment.
• HD cameras: HD, night vision cameras are available in a variety of formats and resolutions.
• Scalability, combined with other micro-detection devices to enrich detection capabilities.
• Autonomous flight combined with manual remote control.
• Wireless data transmission.

2.2 Asian-style UAV bridge detection system architecture diagram

The stable UAV system is adopted, which has the characteristics of high durability and high robustness. Combined with the particularity of bridge detection, it carries out targeted research and development improvement, making the UAV detection platform suitable for professional inspection of bridges. More convenient and effective.
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Figure 1 system architecture diagram

The Yapai UAV system is mainly composed of several major parts of the UAV flight platform, obstacle avoidance system, HD camera, remote control equipment, ground station system and report processing server.
The UAV platform and the obstacle avoidance system combined with the HD camera can acquire high-definition image data while achieving safe flight.
The combination of ground station system and remote control equipment can realize the planning and processing of flight routes and the display and processing of various flight and inspection data.
The report processing server can customize various test reports according to customer needs.

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