4 April 2012 Millimeter-wave nondestructive evaluation of pavement conditions
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The United States is suffering from an aging civil infrastructure crisis. Key to recovery are rapid inspection technologies like that being investigated by the VOTERS project (Versatile Onboard Traffic Embedded Roaming Sensors), which aims to outfit ordinary road vehicles with compact low-cost hardware that enables them to rapidly assess and report the condition of roadways and bridge decks free of driver interaction. A key piece of hardware, and the focus of this paper, is a 24 GHz millimeter-wave radar system that measures the reflectivity of pavement surfaces. To account for the variability of real-world driving, such as changes in height, angle, speed, and temperature, a sensor fusion approach is used that corrects MWR measurements based on data from four additional sensors. The corrected MWR measurements are expected to be useful for various characterization applications, including: material type; deterioration such as cracks and potholes; and surface coverage conditions such as dry, wet, oil, water, and ice. Success at each of these applications is an important step towards achieving the VOTERS objective, however, this paper focuses on surface coverage, as whatever covers the driving surface will be most apparent to the MWR sensor and if not accounted for could significantly limit the accuracy of other applications. Contributions of the paper include findings from static lab tests, which validate the approach and show the effects of height and angle. Further contributions come from lab and in-field dynamic tests, which show the effects of speed and demonstrate that the MWR approach is accurate under city driving conditions.
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David Vines-Cavanau, Dan Busuioc, Ralf Birken, Ming Wang, "Millimeter-wave nondestructive evaluation of pavement conditions", Proc. SPIE 8347, Nondestructive Characterization for Composite Materials, Aerospace Engineering, Civil Infrastructure, and Homeland Security 2012, 83472B (4 April 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.914788; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.914788

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