Center for Transformative Infrastructure Preservation and Sustainability

Project Details

Rapid and Low-Cost Bridge Scour Monitoring Using Unmanned Underwater Drones
Principal Investigators:
Yiyan Li
Fort Lewis College
Grant #:
69A3552348308 (IIJA / BIL)
Project #:
RiP #:
bridge piers, bridges, monitoring, remote sensing, scour, unmanned underwater vehicles


The project aims to develop a cost-effective underwater unmanned device (UUD) and sensing system for swift bridge scour assessment. It aims to surpass stationary sonar systems in cost and flexibility while providing superior accuracy compared to vessel-based systems. Both hardware and software will be open source, facilitating widespread use and collaboration. Knowledge will be shared via GitHub and integrated into engineering curricula. A novel circular maneuvering controller will be documented and published, encouraging replication. Enhancements include integrating sonar and a distance sensor for circular maneuvering around bridge piers, generating real-time 3D depth maps to overcome existing method limitations. This innovative approach addresses cost, resolution, and operational issues, offering a more efficient solution for scour mapping. The project emphasizes accessibility, education, and practical application, with potential benefits for infrastructure monitoring and safety.

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