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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Civil Engineering

Degree Type

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (M.S.C.E.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



The transportation infrastructure in the United States is a complex system that is vital to the everyday operations of the country. Bridges are a significant asset of this network, with many of them approaching the end of their service life. Corrosion is a common cause of deterioration which ultimately results to structural deficiency for the aging bridges. The deterioration rate is a multi-aspect factor that makes bridge inspections crucial. However, the current bridge inspections are very costly and potentially unsafe for the involved personnel. To lower costs and increase safety, many state DOT’s and universities have decided to perform research on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), or drones. This thesis explores the implementation of drone technology in bridge inspections and investigates their limits for corrosion detection and estimation. The first part of this thesis summarizes the responses obtained from a questionnaire sent to the personnel from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). The second and third parts of this thesis summarizes how states have utilized UAVs for bridge inspections, including the selected drones and the attached equipment. The last part presents technologies that can be used to detect and measure corrosion, and how they can be used in conjunction with drones to quantify section loss of steel beams.


First Advisor

Simos Gerasimidis

Second Advisor

Sergio Brena