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The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Use of Robotics for Nondestructive Inspection of Steel Highway Bridges and Structures
Sheth, Pradip N.
Year: 2005
VTRC No.: 05-CR8
Abstract: This report presents the results of a project to finalize and apply a crawling robotic system for the remote visual inspection of high-mast light poles. The first part of the project focused on finalizing the prototype crawler robot hardware and control software from the initial prototypes constructed in earlier projects. Significant mechanical design improvements such as the auxiliary caster wheels and improved camera system were adapted to the final prototype. The second part of the project was directed toward acquiring field experience and disseminating the knowledge about this technology. Field tests in Iowa, South Carolina, and Minnesota were carried out. In addition, presentations were made at an American Society of Civil Engineers meeting, at an American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials meeting, and at the Federal Highway Administration Turner-Fairbank Research Center. Safety of the inspection personnel, quality and quantity of the inspection data, the ability to produce report-ready permanent inspection records and video imaging files, the productivity and cost-reduction opportunities, and the enhanced ability to carry out more detailed non-destructive evaluation inspections such as ultrasound or eddy current probes make this technology an attractive technology. However, a continued program of development, field experiences, and adaptation of this technology to specific applications is necessary. Both, a generic robotic technology and a more specifically directed automated inspection technology are viable candidates for consideration in applications to highway structures.