Roads and Bridges - Drogi i Mosty
22, 4, 2023, 331-345

Assessment of the use of unmanned aerial vehicles for road pavement condition surveying

Anna Małek Mail
Poznan University of Technology, Faculty of Civil and Transport Engineering, Civil Engineering Institute, Division of Geotechnics, Engineering Geology and Geodesy, 5 Piotrowo St., 60-965 Poznań
Published: 2023-12-21


The article presents evaluation of road pavement surface diagnostics performed using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The work encompasses analysis of the potential for use of UAVs in pavement condition diagnostics, the methodology of field surveys and use of photogrammetry software. The experimental part includes a comparison of the results obtained for chosen types of pavement distress using orthophotomaps (created from images captured with UAV during flights at four different altitudes) and data obtained in field using a measuring tape and a total station. The results indicated that the measurement accuracy for chosen types of pavement distress (potholes, patches, cracks) obtained using typical surveying methods was similar to that obtained using aerial imaging technology (the difference does not exceed 1 cm). Using an unmanned aerial vehicle with an 1/2" image sensor, focal length of 24 mm and flight altitude of 5 m, it is possible to detect cracks from 1 mm in size; in the case of flight altitude of 30 m it is possible to detect cracks from 4 mm. The presented analyses indicate that UAVs may be successfully used in road surface feature diagnostics as an independent early damage detection system or as an extension of traditional surveying methods.


3D modeling, assessment of pavement damage, pavement diagnostics, photogrammetry, UAV.

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Assessment of the use of unmanned aerial vehicles for road pavement condition surveying

Małek, Anna. Assessment of the use of unmanned aerial vehicles for road pavement condition surveying. Roads and Bridges - Drogi i Mosty, [S.l.], v. 22, n. 4, p. 331-345, dec. 2023. ISSN 2449-769X. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 24 Feb. 2024. doi: