Ageing and deterioration of infrastructure are a challenge facing transport authorities. In particular, there is a need for increased bridge monitoring in order to provide adequate maintenance, prioritise allocation of funds and guarantee acceptable levels of transport safety. Existing bridge structural health monitoring (SHM) techniques typically involve direct instrumentation of the bridge with sensors and equipment for the measurement of properties such as frequencies of vibration. These techniques are important as they can indicate the deterioration of the bridge condition. However, they can be labour intensive and expensive due to the requirement for on-site installations. In recent years, alternative low-cost indirect vibration-based SHM approaches have been proposed which utilise the dynamic response of a vehicle to carry out ‘drive-by’ pavement and/or bridge monitoring. The vehicle is fitted with sensors on its axles thus reducing the need for on-site installations. This paper investigates the use of low-cost sensors incorporating global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) for implementation of the drive-by system in practice, via field trials with an instrumented vehicle. The potential of smartphone technology to be harnessed for drive-by monitoring is established, while smartphone GNSS tracking applications are found to compare favourably in terms of accuracy, cost and ease of use to professional GNSS devices.
- Bridge monitoring
- GPS technology
- Structural health monitoring
- vehicle sensors
- Global navigation satellite system