Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date



Michigan Tech Research Institute; Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering; Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences; Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


Technological advances in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technologies continue to enable these tools to become easier to use, more economical, and applicable for transportation-related operations, maintenance, and asset management while also increasing safety and decreasing cost. This Phase 2 project continued to test and evaluate five main UAV platforms with a combination of optical, thermal, and lidar sensors to determine how to implement them into MDOT workflows. Field demonstrations were completed at bridges, a construction site, road corridors, and along highways with data being processed and analyzed using customized algorithms and tools. Additionally, a cost-benefit analysis was conducted, comparing manual and UAV-based inspection methods. The project team also gave a series of technical demonstrations and conference presentations, enabling outreach to interested audiences who gained understanding of the potential implementation of this technology and the advanced research that MDOT is moving to implementation. The outreach efforts and research activities performed under this contract demonstrated how implementing UAV technologies into MDOT workflows can provide many benefits to MDOT and the motoring public; such as advantages in improved cost-effectiveness, operational management, and timely maintenance of Michigan’s transportation infrastructure.

Publisher's Statement

Sponsoring agency: Michigan Department of Transportation. Report is made available in compliance with copyright policies. Version of record available here:

Distribution Statement

No restrictions. This document is available to the public through the Michigan Department of Transportation.


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