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Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-21-086    Date:  September 2021
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-21-086
Date: September 2021


Collection of Data With Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) for Bridge Inspection and Construction Inspection

PDF Version (8.59 MB)


This report documents research undertaken to explore the use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to support bridge inspection. It addresses UAS platforms and sensors used to assist or augment inspections, the data-collection needs to which UAS can contribute, and means and methods for managing the tremendous amount of data that can be collected by UAS-mounted sensors. The report also presents case studies that illustrate real-world applications of UAS for bridge inspections and the results of both field and laboratory testing geared toward establishing standards and requirements for UAS sensors that will ensure quality inspection products.

This report will be informative to bridge owners, engineers, and inspectors as well as UAS operators with an interest in bridge inspections. Additionally, the information in the report may be of interest to UAS sensor and system manufacturers as they continue to advance the technologies for the benefit of the transportation infrastructure industry.

Cheryl Allen Richter, P.E., Ph.D.
Director, Office of Infrastructure
Research and Development


This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers' names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

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