Application of Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) in Highway Construction Progress Monitoring Automation

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering; Michigan Tech Research Institute


The objective of this research is to propose a highway construction progress monitoring system using Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) technologies, computer vision techniques, and data analytic tools to automatically: (1) estimate the construction operation production, and (2) monitor the progress relative to an as-planned 3D model. The motivation of this research is to assist project managers in automatically and efficiently monitoring construction project progress during the construction phase. The proposed progress monitoring process consists of three steps of (1) collection of orthophotographs of ongoing construction operations using UAS, (2) use of image processing to support automated feature extraction, and (3) development of as-planned vs. as-built progress estimates based on a comparison of as-planned model and as-built reports. The method is implemented and tested for pavement removal and concrete pavement construction operations for the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) I-496 corridor reconstruction project. The main contribution of this paper is to further automation approaches into highway construction inspection workflows.

Publication Title

Construction Research Congress 2022: Computer Applications, Automation, and Data Analytics - Selected Papers from Construction Research Congress 2022