The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for surveying is at the forefront of their use in the Architectural Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry. UAVs make accessing hard-to-reach construction regions simpler and more cost-effective because of their small size, ease of mobility, and the wealth of information given by their integrated sensors. Accordingly, their use is thriving in different AEC sectors such as the management and inspection of engineering facilities such as concrete bridges. Overpass bridge engineering inspections are still applied using high accuracy surveying instruments in situ to ensure meeting the quality standards of construction. One important application is to measure the bridge pier caps centerline fitting using total stations, which is costly in terms of time and labor. Therefore, in this article, a new approach based on consumer-grade UAV imaging is proposed for replacing the traditional surveying techniques which are expected to improve automation and reduce time and cost. The proposed method utilized a sequence of processes on the UAV point clouds of the bridge concrete pier caps to finally extract the pier pads center and check their alignment. In two experiments, point clouds are created using DJI Phantom 3 images taken over bridge pier projects under construction, and concrete pad centers are then estimated and compared to the reference total station measurements. The results of both tests reveal the ability of the proposed method to attain the required accuracy for the pads’ alignment, as the root mean square error (RMSE) is one centimeter and two centimeters for the first and second tests, respectively. In addition, the new approach can reduce implementation time and the project budget.
- Pier pads