Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) have the potential to drastically change how civil infrastructure is inspected, monitored, and managed. Deployment of UAS in areas such as bridge inspection and accident reconstruction will likely have far-reaching impacts and evolve over time, with new uses and users emerging as technology matures. However, with any new technology, limitations exist until new protocols are established, and industry must move forward with an appropriate level of caution. For example, statements regarding the ability of a UAS to replace a human bridge inspector are frequently observed in trade magazines, presentations, and in the literature, though no objective tests or standards exist in order to substantiate the claims. With no standard tests to verify such claims, agencies are left to rely upon vendors’ promotional material when making decisions about UAS deployment. The Joint Transportation Research Program at Purdue University is working with the Indiana Department of Transportation and other state departments of transportation to develop an Integrated Unmanned Aerial Systems Validation Center that will create a structured validation process for civil UAS operators. This project will conduct a beta version of the validation center at Purdue University’s Center for Aging Infrastructure (CAI) and the Steel Bridge Research, Inspection, Training, and Engineering Center (S-BRITE). Stakeholders including engineers, emergency response personnel, academics, and pilots will work together to determine the appropriate performance criteria needed to validate related civil UAS operations.
Decker, A. G.,
Mott, J. H.,
Connor, R. J.,
& Bullock, D. M.
(2019). Development of an Integrated Unmanned Aerial Systems Validation Center. 20th International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, 157-162.