Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - RPB HEALTEC (Road Pavements & Bridge Deck Health Monitoring/Early Warning Using Advanced Inspection Technologies)

Executive Summary:
The main goal of the FP7 RPB HealTec project is the development of an integrated Non-destructive Testing (NDT) system based on the data fusion from the advanced Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), Air-Coupled Ultrasound (ACU) and Infrared Thermography IRT NDT sensor systems. Data from these systems is captured at traffic speeds (up to 60 km/h) for assessment and monitoring of pavement structures. Intelligent RPB HealTec software hasthe ability to detect adjacent layers of similar materials, automatically identify deterioration and assess its severity in quantitative terms.

This new concept will potentially improve the monitoring conditions in time and accuracy, and therefore decrease the operating costs by reducing the unnecessary maintenance of pavements and/or bridge decks, and most importantly just-in-time maintenance. This will provide the following benefits: (i) optimisation of maintenance procedures thus increasing the average life of a pavement and/or bridge deck; (ii) improvements in the calculation methods that will be implemented for new pavement design and analysis; (iii) reduction of at least 0.1% on future pavement construction and maintenance costs, translating to savings of EUR 60 million in Europe within the first six years after completion.

The RPB HealTec system’s research and innovation outcomes are linked to the benefits of its unique selling points: (i) an innovative high quality IRT technique capable of monitoring at traffic speeds (up to 60km/h), an innovative ACU inspection technique capable of monitoring continuously, instead of the stationary capability of the current state-of-the-art; (ii) an innovative GPR technique capable of inspecting adjacent layers of the same materials at traffic speeds; (iii) multidimensional data fusion allowing wider coverage of pavement condition, with the chosen technologies being complementary to each other in the sense that one method’s disadvantages are weighted against the other two methods’ advantages. Computational intelligence plays a key-role in RPB HealTec project acting as the integrator of the different NDT techniques. In addition, since the IRT, ACU and GPR sensor modules are mounted on the same vehicle, this helps to avoid unnecessary data collection and traffic delays. In addition, the final results of the project with respect to the set objectives are expected to produce a number of research outputs that will enrich the body of knowledge of NDT pavement inspection.

One of the aims was to build a cost-effective tool that would be more easily accepted by potential clients. This is assured by the fact that the RPB HealTec integrated method performs several different tests simultaneously, gathering data and results, increasing efficiency. All the tests are performed automatically, and there is no need of using different test teams, reducing accumulating costs. This new integrated concept will potentially help Europe to claim the biggest share of the market for surface transport and construction maintenance. For this purpose, various SMEs from different European countries are participating in the consortium. Moreover, the SMEs are engaged in most of the work packages, in order to extend their field of application. The techniques used are broadly accepted internationally, thus the integrated product that will be developed during the project based on these techniques and will be easily accepted and used by anyone familiar with NDT techniques.

Project Context and Objectives:
The European Road Network is undoubtedly one of the most important land infrastructures in the EU. It is and will remain for the foreseeable future a crucial artery for Europe, both in economic terms, as it services the vast majority of goods traffic, and in social terms, as it does so for passenger travel as well. Maintenance is considered to be the most expensive function of a highway operating agency, so there is a special need for the early detection of deterioration mechanisms and of the potential presence of defects through a more advanced road pavement inspection technology.

The RPB HealTec project system will detect the presence of surface and subsurface defects and extent of deterioration. It will provide information for assessing the stability, serviceability and for evaluating the cost-effectiveness of various remedial measures and provide this information in real time, without causing traffic disturbances.

The system is aiming to upgrade and optimize the inspection and maintenance of European roads, reducing costs and increasing traffic safety. This is achieved by developing a novel automated and integrated NDT system for traffic speed analysis and evaluation. The system will demonstrate the value of combining three technologies: Ground Penetrating Radar, InfraRed Thermography and Air Coupled Ultrasound (ACU), with near real-time data transfer, analysis as a reliable, fast and safe tool for pavement inspection. The proposed integrated solution incorporates the capabilities of the three different techniques thus providing higher multidimensional coverage and reliability in order produce quantitative, reliable, precise and continuous measurements at traffic speeds (up to 60 km/h).

Development of the proposed integrated RPB HealTec system includes the following set of objectives:

- Evaluation and characterisation of the existing and emerging NDT&E technologies for their ability to detect in real-time various types of defects or other life-limiting factors in road pavements and concrete bridge decks with high resolution and 1m inspection depth.

- Development of an advanced novel ACU system for detection of shallow subsurface delaminations and identification of pavement surface layer thickness variations. Low operating frequency range within 50-100 kHz and high power signal excitation and amplification, together with the advanced filtering and processing techniques will allow such system to overcome the impact of high HMA-air impedance mismatch.

- Development of an advanced GPR system specifically designed for traffic-speed inspection of HMA and concrete materials, operating with a bandwidth between 500 and 2 GHz with a desired resolution of 30mm and 1m inspection depth.

- Development an advanced Infrared Thermography imaging system capable of high precision temperature measurement for continuous road pavement surface surveying at traffic speeds and detection of surface defects and deterioration.

- Development an integrated scanner combining advanced GPR, ACU and IRT technologies through hardware integration and data fusion software. This will also involve development of an advanced signal and image processing toolbox incorporated in a human machine interface that: (i) will provide pre-processing functionalities for improvement in the information context of the acquired images and signals; (ii) will provide graphical tools for processing, analysis and visualisation; (iii) will combine the inspection capabilities of the three NDT subsystems by employing trend analysis and data fusion; (iv) and is capable of detecting different types of defects in the HMA and concrete structures.

- Development of a formalised validation testing plan for assessment of the efficiency of the overall RPB HealTec NDT methodology through practical applications in inspection and monitoring methodology.

The RPB HealTec methodology will be suitable for a wide range of potential applications and would be applicable to end users involved in road construction and maintenance applications.

Project Results:
Since the beginning of the project, the RPB HealTec consortium worked toward the achievement of main objective of the RPB HealTec project is development of a novel integrated NDT system for damage assessment, diagnosis and monitoring of road pavements and bridge decking. This should assist decision making related to increasing the life expectancy of road infrastructure and help reduce the cost of future construction and maintenance to the European road network.

The design of RPB HealTec system is based on integration of multiple NDT sensors in order to provide the maximum coverage of pavement structural condition and enable fast road inspection at traffic speeds. The sensor integration improves the performance of any individual sensors. The corresponding identified optimal set of sensors includes Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), Infrared Thermography (IRT), and Air-Coupled Ultrasound (ACU). While GPR has been widely employed in road surveys for many years and constitutes the basis for the proposed integrated solution, the application of IRT and ultrasound in pavement surveys has considerable novelty. There are only few examples of the implemented IRT systems with IRT being used specifically in bridge deck inspection.

Within the first year of the project, the work performed under WP1 “System Specifications” resulted in definition of: (i) both user and operational system requirements; (ii) sensor and system specifications; (iii) preliminary design of the integrated system solution including hardware integration, Central Control Unit (CCU), GUI, and methods for data processing, fusion, and analysis. These results reported in D1.1 and D1.2 provided the essential basis for the development of GPR, IRT and ACU sensor modules (WP2-4). In summary, the RPB HealTec system has to provide an automated and integrated NDT solution for traffic speed assessment of road pavement/bridge deck structural condition. Integration of GPR, IRT and ACU NDT techniques provides multi-dimensional information of the pavement condition with high level coverage for detection of surface and subsurface defects, structural and material changes and deterioration regions as well as extraction of the pavement structure information for asset inventory. The system has to be optimized for operation at 40-60 km/h speed in order to substantial disruptions to traffic for inspection of long sections of highways.

Further progress in WP2 “Development of GPR System”, WP3 “Development of Thermography System” and WP4 “Development of ACU System” saw investigation of the essential sensor parameters and the corresponding specifications. For each of the sensor modules, the guidelines for the choice of optimal values for the essential system parameters and acquisition settings were specified based on the finite element modelling results and the state-of-the-art overview with respect to the major goal of detection of the variety of road pavement defects, both surface and subsurface. These guidelines for the sensor development, data collection, analysis and interpretation were presented in Deliverables D2.1, D3.1, and D4.1. Being novel technology not yet extensively applied in pavement inspection, development of the ACU system required a number of adjustments of the initial plan with respect to the number and design of the ACU transducers and acquisition settings in order to improve SNR taking into account the specific nature of the problem domain. In addition, the effect of exogenous conditions (moisture, temperature, vibration, and travelling speed) on the GPR and IRT data was investigated and both qualitatively and quantitatively analysed in the course of the extensive theoretical and field experiments aiming to the define and fine-tune optimal system acquisition parameters with respect to the specifics of pavement inspection (D2.2 and D3.2). During the second year, Workpackages WP2, WP3 and WP4 covering implementation of the prototype NDT sensor components (GPR, IRT and ACU) were successfully completed with the corresponding active tasks including: (i) development of GPR system; (ii) development of the thermographic sensor system; (iii) development of ACU sensor system; and (iv) integrated data processing functionalities in the developed ACU system. These results reported in D2.3, D3.3 and D4.2 provided the essential basis for the hardware and software integration of the system. In parallel, the WP2-4 teams were working on the building of the sensor prototypes (hardware and software) that can be easily integrated in the overall system architecture taking into account the preliminary defined requirements.

The summary description of the NDT modules is as follows:
- In the IRT module, the high-resolution IRT camera is employed for inspection of the structural condition of the top asphalt layers based on the analysis of thermal segregation patterns. This includes detection of surface defects and shallow subsurface delaminations as well as deviations in the asphalt material properties (e.g., density, trapped moisture) and changes in structure. The employed uncooled FLIR A655sc IRT camera model has high sampling rate and was select as optimal for high-speed surveys.
- The SIR-30 GSSI GPR control unit with an array of low and high frequency GPR antennas (0.9 and 1.6 GHz) provides information on the pavement structure ensuring coverage of all subsurface layers. Installed on a specially designed trolley, the GPR module is optimized for high-speed inspection for detection of subsurface defects such as delaminations between the layers, voids, material deterioration regions and deep cracks, changes in the pavement structural design.
- The use of ACU system with DR.HILLGER AirTech system with low frequency 75 kHz transducers is applied for sensitive profiling of the surface layer condition and identification of the variations in the asphalt density.

The work under WP5 “Development of an integrated scanner system” and WP6 “Software Integration” focused on the design and implementation of the integration of the NDT sensor components into a standalone system. For both hardware and software integration level, the design with respect for the choice of equipment components (or software tools) and communication of the sensors with the control unit (wiring, power supply, software protocols) as well as optimisation of the system performance with respect to the data acquisition speed and quality and health and safety requirements with respect to the major goal of detection of the variety of pavement defects, both surface and subsurface. Correspondingly, the design of the system integration on the hardware level and the data acquisition software was formalised in Deliverables D5.1 and D6.1. Next, based on the proposed system integration design, the WP5-6 teams were working (in close collaboration with WP2-4 teams with respect to optimisations of the NDT sensor data acquisition strategies) on implementation of the integrated system including the following tasks: (i) implementation of the hardware integration of the sensors (power supply, wiring, spatial mapping sensors: INS/GNNS and DMI); (ii) development of the GUI for the data acquisition software; (iv) development of the data acquisition software (based communication of the sensors with the control unit); (iii) development of the methods for processing and analysis of the NDT sensor data and the post-processing software for sensor fusion; (v) integration of all components into the final system. All these stages of the system development were described in Deliverables D5.2, D6.2, D5.3 and D6.3. In summary, despite the occurred issues with the software level integration with the GPR system, the system was successfully implemented and is operational. Furthermore, the sensor data fusion results demonstrated that the use of multiple NDT techniques significantly enhances the information content of the survey data in the task of assessment of the road pavement structural condition (especially in the GPR/IRT fusion case). The developed processing methods for detection of critical deviations in sensor data streams also proved to be efficient. However, further optimisation and testing of the prototype system is required in order to resolve the occurred issues and validation of the post-processing methods.

In summary, on the hardware integration level, all NDT modules are mounted on a trolley or camera holders, correspondingly, that can be straightforwardly installed on a survey vehicle. The rest of the hardware components include the power supply module and the GNSS/INS navigation systems along with the HD video camera, which are employed for high accuracy spatial mapping and referencing of the detected defect locations. On the software integration level, the design of the synchronization of the sensor data (which is a prerequisite for sensor fusion) is based on the timestamp recording and distance trigger pulses from a DMI. In the delivered prototype, the DMI count/distance measurements were unreliable due to hardware design issues. Therefore, the data was synchronised using timestamps (and future work will address irregularities in the DMI capture). The data acquisition software is designed to provide functionality for synchronized collection and storage of spatially referenced sensor data.

Following data acquisition, the sensor data are exported into the RPB HealTec post-processing software for analysis. The corresponding methodology involves automated processing of the individual sensor data streams for detection of critical deviations in the pavement subsurface features together with the extraction of layer thickness profile from the low and high frequency GPR scans. In IRT data stream processing, an inverse projection transformation and extraction of a region of the pavement surface (e.g., 2.5 by 5 m size) is applied to every frame. Next, background removal and multi-threshold adaptive segmentation are used for detection of local critical changes in pavement segregation. In addition, morphological dilation is used for analysis of global changes in the thermal patterns. The GPR and ACU B-scans are split into segments (e.g., 75 m length) and analysed based on the trend deviation analysis method, which automatically detects all deviations from the uniform layer structure considered to be “significant” and possibly indicating the presence of defects and changes in pavement structure. Spatial registration of multi-dimensional sensor data is based on the timestamp, GNSS reference point and the sensor positioning offset information. The sensor fusion is performed at the decision level with respect to the presence of the detected deviations in surface and subsurface condition and visualization of the processed IRT frames along with the GPR defect mask mapped on the 2D reformatted road lane surface extracted form HDV. The report for an inspected road section includes the processed sensor data and the “defect mask” sensor fusion output together with the extracted global IRT segregation patterns and pavement structure profile. This decision-support information can be further used for the evaluation of the defect severity and extent and general assessment of the road quality condition required in the pavement maintenance planning.

In the course of the WP5 and WP6 progress, the testing and validation of the implemented prototype NDT system and the individual NDT modules was performed under WP7 “Laboratory and field trials – tests”. The individual NDT sensor systems including the sensor equipment and the implemented holders/trolley were tested in the laboratory environment along with other essential components of the hardware integration with the summary of the results reported in Deliverable D7.1. This was followed by the field test trials of the integrated system performed in Greece and Italy that took place in May 2016. The corresponding testing outcomes regarding the performance of the implemented prototype NDT system as well as the strategy for further optimisation were presented in Deliverable D7.2. The two corresponding Milestones including MS5 “First Loop successfully completed and Tested” and MS9 “Second Loop successfully completed and tested” were successfully passed. The delays in the submission of the deliverables and performing the field trials were caused by the corresponding suspensions in WP2, WP3 and WP5 related to the selection and acquisition of the hardware components and issues with the system integration on both software and hardware levels (WP5-6).

The analysis of the sensor fusion results for the data acquired during the field trials on the A22 Motorway in Italy showed that the combination of the sensor outputs (GPR and IRT, especially) provides significantly more information of the road pavement subsurface condition than the individual sensors. In other words, these NDT sensors are complementary yet reinforce each other when a defect is present. Some of the examples included the sensor fusion output for the deteriorated regions such as: (i) transition between a bridge deck and pavement with the presence of multiple cracks, which were detected in all sensor data streams; (ii) subsurface delamination that was detected in both GRP and IRT data, while the mud pumping defect and the pavement joint with trapped moisture was be also seen on the reformatted IRT frame. Moreover, the cross-referencing of the individual multi-dimensional sensor outputs should be used for verification of the “existence” of the detected defects in order to decrease the number of false positive alarms. For instance, while the GPR analysis is efficient for detection of subsurface defects such as delaminations between the layers and material/structural changes, IRT provides the segregation map for the entire lane thus allowing assessment of the condition of the regions not covered by the GPR antennas. IRT also visualizes the pavement surface condition around the detected defects. The corresponding examples included delaminations close to the lane borderline, deteriorated joint in the middle of the lane, structural changes (e.g., patching and overlays), local variations in the material properties (e.g., trapped moisture, asphalt degradation), surface defects (e.g., cracking, potholes), etc. Furthermore, it also was noted that, in comparison to HDV only (normally used in pavement surveys), IRT is highly efficient in detection of surface defects by providing information on the extent and boundaries of the deteriorated region, particularly in the case when the granular texture of porous asphalt used masks minor defects. In summary, while GPR remains the principal technique in pavement surveys, IRT significantly extends the quality of information on the subsurface condition extracted from GPR only; and ACU can be used as an additional tool for mapping of the surface level defect locations.

In summary, all planned objectives were successfully achieved and all corresponding tasks were completed, resulting in the successful submission of 27 deliverables and reaching 9 milestones. The results reported in the WP2-7 deliverables demonstrated that the integrated prototype NDT system was successfully implemented based on the originally proposed design and the outcomes of the field trials demonstrated highly promising results in integration of the selected NDT sensors and the novel approach proposed for sensor data fusion for the structural pavement condition surveys. Therefore, the proposed RPB HealTec concept provides the basis for further improvement of the existing pavement monitoring techniques, both, in time and accuracy, leading to optimization of pavement and bridge deck maintenance procedures.

Potential Impact:
Potential impact:

In general and based on the performed economical feasibility study, the potential impacts of the RPB HealTec project and further commercialisation of the developed system include: (i) clear economic for the participating SMEs and increasing of their competitiveness; (ii) internationalization of the SMEs through European co-operation for after project partnership; (iii) improvement of the EU road network performance, reductions of accidents, savings from road construction and maintenance expenses and reduction of traffic delays; (iv) development of a new European standardized guidelines in pavement inspection; (v) creation of new job opportunities in the EU and new start-up companies.

Alongside the clear financial profits, implementation of the novel pavement inspection technology will enable the SMEs to enter these demanding markets with high growth potential, especially taking into account that the advantages of the RPB HealTec product include the survey costs being within the range of the competitive market while providing results of increased reliability and quality. The RPB HealTec project technology will enable each of the consortium SMEs to diversify their product ranges. As a result of participation in the RPB HealTec project, the consortium SMEs is now able to access the completely new business of supplying the project’s results to the world markets.

The SMEs can take advantage of the knowledge acquired from the project for the potential development of a new European standard for monitoring and assessment of structural pavement condition. Joining of the Knowledge Economy through ownership and exploitation of IPR may open new investment avenues including potential new products and processes. General benefits include: (i) better chances of making correct decisions; (ii) improved interagency coordination; (iii) better use of technology.

Taking into consideration the benefits to the SMEs involved in the project, employment opportunities can be extended to the European companies involved directly or indirectly with the project. RPB HealTec will promote the creation of interesting and high technology new jobs in the areas of roads and highways construction and maintenance, composite material manufacturing and testing. European enterprises will maintain the EU market and claim the global markets, based on the knowledge attained during the carrying out of the programme, a fact that will strengthen their competitiveness.

Maintenance is traditionally considered to be the most expensive function of a highway-operating agency. However, the long-term benefits of maintenance strategies are typically not quantified. More is known about the initial relative improvements associated with a given maintenance strategy rather than about its impact on a pavement’s performance and life.

The end-users of the results of this project include International, National and Local Government road organisations and agencies, highway maintenance and survey contractors as well as private motorway and bridge operators. At International and National levels, the data collected as part of this project may influence matters of policy regarding safety and the administration and operation of roads and road structures. Such data will also be of interest to different parts of these institutions for decision-making in the areas of transport policy, legislation, research and development.

At a regional or local level, engineers responsible for the upkeep of a section of highway infrastructure will benefit from the availability of information on methods of inspection, assessment and analysis, and from improved whole life cost models. Together these will improve the efficiency of operations, provide more reliable predictions of expenditure, and assist in the planning and execution of inspection and maintenance works. The information will also be of benefit to road operators and contractors concerned with such works.

The majority of the Western European countries have already incorporated the methods for traffic-speed automated functional pavement condition surveys (e.g., TRACS and ARAN) to a various extent, while Eastern European countries are just beginning this transition from the classical visual inspection. In addition to further of the survey methods with respect to speed and the daily capacity of data collection and automated analysis, there is obviously a need to provide similar high-speed and widely available services for structural pavement condition surveys, which is essential in efficient planning of required maintenance procedure. Especially for large highway networks, a time and personnel reduction would significantly reduce the overall costs of monitoring and traffic disruptions, and hence improve road safety.

Moreover, the tendency for total management of the road network maintenance is increasing. Such maintenance management does not only relate to the monitoring of the pavement, but also integrates the monitoring of additional parameters (e.g., ride quality, safety, etc.). Consequently, a general increase in monitoring spending can be expected in the future. The development and application of reliable inspection, assessment and maintenance procedures for the European road network could ensure the continued high performance of the network and, long term, will save millions of Euros in construction, maintenance and traffic delay costs.

Following implementation of the RPB HealTec prototype, further commercialization will contribute to the ideal monitoring strategy matching to the needs of the stakeholders of a road network, the level of knowledge of the performance of the road network, and the allocated budget and resources. In addition, the procedures for maintenance monitoring are highly dependent on the purpose of the monitoring process, which in turn is dependent on the Pavement Management System used by a specific organization.

To summarize, the benefits of an end user purchasing the RPB HealTec system include: (i) high performance of the road network under its jurisdiction; (ii) savings from reduction of construction, maintenance, monitoring and traffic delays costs; (iii) reduction of accidents; (iv) contribution to safety policy conduction; (v) optimal administration and operation of roads and road structures.

Dissemination activities and future exploitation plan:

The overall objective of WP8 “Technology transfer to SMEs, Dissemination and Exploitation” is: (i) the transfer from the RTDs to the SMEs of the developments achieved during the project; (ii) intellectual Property Management; (iii) dissemination of the scientific and academic background concerning the RPB HealTec concept; (iv) compilation of the agreed strategy for exploiting the project results by the SMEs; (v) implementation of market oriented dissemination activities.

During the first year, the project dissemination activities focused on preparation of the basis for the future project dissemination / promotion plan when the first results of the sensor data fusion would become available. This included development of the website D8.1, creation of the project logo and leaflets, local dissemination activities, preparation of the draft dissemination plan (PUDF) presented in D8.3, and patent search which results that the RPB HealTec concept does not infringe on existing patents and is patentable (D8.2).

During the second year, dissemination activities included organisation of the special NDT session and presentation of two papers and a RPB HealTec at the IWSSIP 2015 and submission of a paper at UTSG conference in January 2016. These papers described the proposed concept for fusion of the multidimensional NDT sensors in road structural condition survey thus promoting the RPB HealTec system. In May 2016, a paper on the novel approach for GPR processing in road survey was presented at IWSSIP 2016 conference. Due to the fact that the sensor fusion data became available only at the end of the project, the major part of dissemination activities will have to be performed after the end of the project with the main focus on publications in the industry magazines targeting potential end users. An article about the RPB HealTec project was published in the “Highways” magazine (www.highwaysmagazine.co.uk), which has over 12,500 subscribers of the digital version and circulation of 7000 print copies. The consortium also got approval from the following industry magazines: “World Highways” and “Le Strade” (English and Italian issues). Furthermore, a manuscript and a poster will be presented by IRIS at the InfraMation conference at the end of September 2016 in Las Vegas.

The project website www.fp7-rpbhealtec.org has been regularly updated with information on the general project progress (e.g., system integration, field trials), project meetings and dissemination activities. The project brochure and poster were updated with the results from the field trials of the system and distributed / installed on the premises of the partners.

The video showcase (D8.4) introducing the RPB HealTec project and implemented novel concept of NDT sensor fusion in highway surveys was developed based on successful field trials of the system and is available in the RPB HealTec youtube channel available to the general public: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHeBcSWqUAI.

The SME and RTD partners were responsible for preparation of the project dissemination plan and the economic feasibility study that included business model for commercialisation of the RPB HealTec product. The (PUDF) was reported in Deliverable D8.6. The two corresponding Milestones including MS7 “Economic feasibility of the RPB HealTec system” and MS8 “Business plan is detailed and finalised” were successfully passed. Based on the financial revenue projection and assessment of the economical feasibility of the RPB HealTec system, it was concluded that further commercialization of the system will be profitable for both “selling as a service” and “selling as a product” options. Furthermore, the proposed novel concept for fusion of multiple NDT sensor technologies extends the information content provided by the current state-of-the art systems commonly employed in structural pavement condition survey services. This ensures the competitiveness of the RPB HealTec product also making it suitable for inspection of such critical infrastructure assets as bridges and airport runways. The performed patent search results presented in D8.4 confirmed the results earlier presented in D8.2 that the RPB HealTec concept does not infringe on existing patents and is patentable. The SME partners decided that the patent is not recommended and the patent was not submitted.

Based on the results of the successful field trials of the RPB HealTec prototype, the exploitation plan within the consortium (internal) focuses on how each group of the project participants will use the project outcomes in the future. Moreover, further cooperation within the consortium incorporating SMEs from Greece, UK, Italy and Netherlands, end users from Italy and Romania and RTDs from UK and Greece will foster European collaboration in the field of composites NDT techniques in road monitoring and maintenance.

After the end of the project, the SME partners (METGEO, IRIS, NARDONI and GDT) got the IPR ownership for the novel NDT system for traffic-speed asphalt pavement and bridge deck inspection and direct access to the integrated NDT RPB HealTec prototype system for highway surveys (hardware and software) as well as collaboration with the consortium partners (e.g., access to the created information content / expert advice). With respect to the exploitation plan, based on the experience gained during the design and development of the RPB HealTec system for traffic-speed surveys, the SME partners will focus on formalization of the commercialization strategies along with exploring of the ways for promotion of the RPB HealTec system in the EU highway and airport runway sectors. This might also include participation in other research projects addressing optimisation of highway survey or maintenance procedures. Furthermore, the SMEs are planning to incorporate the traffic-speed highway pavement and bridge deck surveys into the list of the provided services. During commercialisation of the RPB HealTec system, the SMEs will be the leading stakeholders and will work in collaboration with the rest of the consortium by providing the expertise on hardware integration.

In the course of the project, the end users (BRENNERO and CJ VRANCEA) got access to the RPB HealTec services for highway inspection through the SME partners and benefited from collaboration with the consortium partners (e.g., access to the created information content and expert advice). With respect to the exploitation plan, following analysis of the NDT sensor data acquired during the field trials on A22 motorway, the end users will explore the potential for application of structural pavement survey methods on a regular basis. This will also involve assessment of the usefulness of multisensor fusion output in comparison to the visual inspection survey results as well as optimisation and structure of the pavement inspection strategies. During commercialisation of the RPB HealTec system, BRENNERO and CJ VRANCEA will have the privilege to be one of the first clients for free motorway surveys in the course of the field trials and validation of the system, required for optimisation of the pavement / bridge deck inspection guidelines.

The RTD partners (CITY, CERTH and CETRI) directly benefited from the project by getting the experience in integration of multisensor NDT systems and development of the NDT systems for traffic-speed pavement surveys as well as through collaboration with the consortium partners (e.g., access to the created information content and expert advice). With respect to the exploitation plan, based on the experience gained during the design and development of the RPB HealTec system for traffic-speed surveys, the RTDs will further explore and work on optimisation of the NDT modules and hardware/software system integration. This might possibly also include participation in other research projects addressing optimisation of highway survey or maintenance procedures. Furthermore, the RTDs will also perform dissemination activities by producing more publications in scientific journals / conference proceedings that would promote the proposed novel NDT sensor fusion concept.
In the course of commercialisation of the RPB HealTec system, the RTDs will work in close collaboration with the SME partners on optimisation of the system integration and NDT modules and sensor data processing/fusion along with formalisation of the corresponding guidelines.

List of Websites:
Project website: www.fp7-rpbhealtec.org

Contact details: Dr Gregory Slabaugh

Email: gregory.slabaugh.1@city.ac.uk
Tel: +44 20 7040 8416

Department of Computer Science
School of Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering
City, University of London
London, EC1V 0HB, UK

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THE CITY UNIVERSITY
United Kingdom
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