Applications of UAVs in Civil Infrastructure

A special issue of Drones (ISSN 2504-446X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 September 2024 | Viewed by 14004

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Institute of Structural Engineering, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Marienstrasse 13a, 99423 Weimar, Germany
Interests: structural engineering; bridge design and assessment; structural dynamics; structural health monitoring; image-based condition assessment; drones

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Guest Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Drones have proven to have significant potential in supporting the condition assessment of civil infrastructure and contribute to more efficient maintenance procedures. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) can function as flexible platforms for carrying high-quality digital data acquisition equipment such as image sensors of different spectral ranges, lidar scanners, and GPR as well as further surveying and non-destructive testing devices. They can be operated semi or fully autonomously and thus perform extensive data generation operations near large structures very efficiently. The processing of acquired sensor data can support digital modeling of existing structures, provide deep insight into the structure’s condition and through repeated and systematic flights pave the way to modern data-driven and predictive maintenance strategies. Furthermore, drones can be applied in the context of infrastructure planning for early site investigations or construction progress monitoring. Finally, drones have proven to be very efficient in the management of seismic events and other natural disasters both for early damage assessment and for the safe survey of damaged buildings in order to plan the recovery or restoration of damaged historical buildings.

The enormous potential of UAVs in civil infrastructure requires further scientific developments and the implementation and validation of suitable workflows for ensuring safe, goal-oriented, quality-controlled, and optimized flight operations and data analysis. This Special Issue is aimed at showcasing contributions to the application of UAVs in relation to civil infrastructure on the methodological level as well as on successful and novel applications.

Suggested topics for article contributions are:

  • UAV and sensor hardware development and optimization for applications in civil infrastructure;
  • Automatic and autonomous UAV operation and flight planning near infrastructures;
  • Application scenarios and novel strategies for UAV operation, data generation and analysis for infrastructure planning, construction and maintenance;
  • Complex use cases, validation, benchmark data and quality assessment of UAV applications;
  • Analysis methods and workflows for UAV data in the context of surveying, 3D modeling, condition assessment, visualization and asset management;
  • Methods and procedures for the safe survey of buildings and structures after seismic events and other natural disasters;
  • Proposals for criteria, regulations and standards for UAV applications in civil infrastructure.

Prof. Dr. Guido Morgenthal
Prof. Dr. Valerio Baiocchi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Drones is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
  • civil infrastructure
  • condition assessment
  • surveying
  • image analysis
  • monitoring
  • 3D modeling
  • flight control
  • natural disaster response

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

25 pages, 5120 KiB  
Article
Microdrone-Based Indoor Mapping with Graph SLAM
by Samer Karam, Francesco Nex, Bhanu Teja Chidura and Norman Kerle
Drones 2022, 6(11), 352; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones6110352 - 14 Nov 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 4533
Abstract
Unmanned aerial vehicles offer a safe and fast approach to the production of three-dimensional spatial data on the surrounding space. In this article, we present a low-cost SLAM-based drone for creating exploration maps of building interiors. The focus is on emergency response mapping [...] Read more.
Unmanned aerial vehicles offer a safe and fast approach to the production of three-dimensional spatial data on the surrounding space. In this article, we present a low-cost SLAM-based drone for creating exploration maps of building interiors. The focus is on emergency response mapping in inaccessible or potentially dangerous places. For this purpose, we used a quadcopter microdrone equipped with six laser rangefinders (1D scanners) and an optical sensor for mapping and positioning. The employed SLAM is designed to map indoor spaces with planar structures through graph optimization. It performs loop-closure detection and correction to recognize previously visited places, and to correct the accumulated drift over time. The proposed methodology was validated for several indoor environments. We investigated the performance of our drone against a multilayer LiDAR-carrying macrodrone, a vision-aided navigation helmet, and ground truth obtained with a terrestrial laser scanner. The experimental results indicate that our SLAM system is capable of creating quality exploration maps of small indoor spaces, and handling the loop-closure problem. The accumulated drift without loop closure was on average 1.1% (0.35 m) over a 31-m-long acquisition trajectory. Moreover, the comparison results demonstrated that our flying microdrone provided a comparable performance to the multilayer LiDAR-based macrodrone, given the low deviation between the point clouds built by both drones. Approximately 85 % of the cloud-to-cloud distances were less than 10 cm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of UAVs in Civil Infrastructure)
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16 pages, 2167 KiB  
Article
Flying Washer: Development of High-Pressure Washing Aerial Robot Employing Multirotor Platform with Add-On Thrusters
by Ryo Miyazaki, Hannibal Paul, Takamasa Kominami, Ricardo Rosales Martinez and Kazuhiro Shimonomura
Drones 2022, 6(10), 286; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones6100286 - 02 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3091
Abstract
In this study, we propose a multirotor aerial robot for high-pressure washing tasks at high altitudes. The aerial robot consists of a multirotor platform, an add-on planar translational driving system (ATD), a visual sensing system, and a high-pressure washing system. The ATD consists [...] Read more.
In this study, we propose a multirotor aerial robot for high-pressure washing tasks at high altitudes. The aerial robot consists of a multirotor platform, an add-on planar translational driving system (ATD), a visual sensing system, and a high-pressure washing system. The ATD consists of three ducted fans, which can generate force in all directions on the horizontal plane. The ATD also allows the multirotor to suppress the reaction force generated by the nozzle of a high-pressure washing system and inject water accurately. In this study, we propose a method to precisely inject water by installing an ATD in the multirotor and using its driving force to suppress the reaction force and move the multirotor while keeping its posture horizontal. The semi-autonomous system was designed to allow the operator to maneuver the multirotor while maintaining a constant distance from the wall by the sensor feedback with onboard LiDAR or stereo camera. In the experiment, we succeeded in performing the high-pressure washing task in a real environment and verified that the reaction force generated from the nozzle was actually suppressed during the task. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of UAVs in Civil Infrastructure)
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