The Ultrasonic Culvert Inspection System (UCIS): A Low-Cost Device for Conduit Inspection

Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) teamed to create a low-cost sensor to inspect in-service culverts in both wet and dry conditions. This sensor system, called the Ultrasonic Culvert Inspection System (UCIS) is suitable for mapping, monitoring, and diagnosing damage to roadway culverts using sonar mapping and live video. The sensor allows the inspector to evaluate culverts with minimal time, equipment, and cost to the sponsoring agency. Sonar information, collected as the probe travels through the culvert, can be combined with inertial measurement and distance data to produce a three-dimensional representation of the culvert that can be manipulated and viewed from many angles. A specially calibrated sonar scheme allows the sensor to be developed with inexpensive components, making this system appropriate for use in high-risk, flooded inspections. Tests reveal the sonar data have sufficient resolution to allow meaningful evaluation of the status and integrity of culverts. This paper describes the motivation, design, and implementation of the UCIS.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee AFF70 Culverts and Hydraulic Structures. Alternate title: Ultrasonic Culvert Inspection System: Low-Cost Device for Conduit Inspection
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Authors:
    • Hansen, Johanna R
    • Willden, Gregory C
    • Abbott, Ben A
    • Green, Ronald T
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2014


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 11p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 93rd Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01515555
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 14-0609
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Feb 24 2014 8:43AM