Automated Pavement Construction Inspection Using Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS)—Hot Mixed Asphalt (HMA) Temperature Segregation

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Temperature segregation in Hot Mixed Asphalt (HMA) pavement construction leads to performance problems, such as reduced fatigue life. During construction, Quality Assurance (QA) inspection procedures are required to evaluate the pavement condition and detect the segregated areas. In traditional HMA highway construction inspection processes, temperature differences are investigated manually, by sampling the HMA behind the paver. In these processes, inspectors are required to work adjacent to traffic and alongside moving or backing equipment. These processes do not provide a complete temperature profile of the mat, endanger the inspectors’ safety, and require on-site experienced inspectors. An Uncrewed Aerial System (UAS) enables HMA pavement construction inspection to be conducted within a remote, non-destructive, safe, and efficient framework. The objective of this research is to design an automated UAS imaging workflow for HMA pavement construction inspection, mainly locating temperature segregation. The primary contribution of this paper is to provide Departments of Transportations (DOTs) and contractors with workflows for creating enhanced remote inspection procedures and detailed thermal profiles of the placed HMA mat. The application of the proposed workflow is illustrated using an HMA construction project in Michigan.

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