Experiences Gained and Benefits from Using Uncrewed Aerial Systems to Calculate Pavement Condition Index at over 80 Airports in the United States

Silent Falcon has developed a process for efficiently collecting pavement condition inspections at over 80 airports in the United States. The project planning process ensures that 100% coverage of the airfield pavements to be acquired at less than 2 mm ground pixel resolution tied into the National Geodetic Survey grid. The operations team has developed an excellent coordination process with the airport and air traffic control tower to ensure the minimum time on the runways and safe airport operations. Depending on the size of the airport, the data collection phase is accomplished using multiple UAS with FAA licensed pilots. Lessons were learned about the best overlap, best altitudes, and best processes for orthorectification of the stitched images. The distresses are quality control reviewed with a professional pavement engineer for final calculation of the Pavement Condition Index. The pavement inspection is delivered to the client in ArcGIS Pro with individual distresses in separate layers geolocating the distress and severities. Utah DOT compared the previously collected manual pavement inspections with the UAS calculated PCI and have been incredibly happy with the correlations. The ArcGIS deliverable provides the ability to compare the PCI and individual distresses with the detailed imagery, which allows for further field inspection of areas of interest. This detailed imagery is a great benefit to the airport or airport consultant. The total quantities of cracking and other distresses that are calculated supply data for preliminary engineering of rehabilitation options. Silent Falcon has gone beyond the research phase and is progressing with full-scale implementation of the system that has been developed. Feedback provided by other states’ aviation officials and airports has been incredibly positive.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Pagination: pp 244-253
  • Monograph Title: Airfield and Highway Pavements 2023: Innovation and Sustainability in Airfield and Highway Pavements Technology

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01903170
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780784484906
  • Files: TRIS, ASCE
  • Created Date: Dec 22 2023 11:20AM