Project UNICA-feasibility
​​The initiative focuses on Autonomous Non-Intrusive Condition Assessment - UNICA- solution for infrastructure; schematic concept illustrated for a bridge across four S/T platforms.

UNICA-feasibility – Autonomous Non-Intrusive Condition Assessment of Infrastructure

Today, the anticipated environmental and economic cost of replacing the aging building/infrastructure stock is immense and defies true quantification. In case of bridge infrastructure, the best estimates for the replacement of 25,000 bridges in Sweden and one million bridges in the EU27 amount to €5.2 billion and €400 billion, respectively. National budget priorities across European countries do not allow this level of funding; consequently, many infrastructures will be left structurally deficient if not properly maintained.

The decision on which infrastructure to repair and the time frame thereof requires frequent inspections that can provide an accurate assessment on the current condition. Today, this process is still costly, is prone to human error and at times exhibits inconsistent assessments across multiple agencies. Given the enormous environmental and economic benefits associated with sustaining the built environment as well as the vast existing competencies in different aspects of construction industry within Sweden, we aim to take a strategic position in leading the development of innovative solutions for this global challenge and to leverage our key competences for implementing research findings for the construction industry. This makes up the primary overarching goal of this initiative.

The UNICA-feasibility project aims to evaluate the feasibility of a radical transformation of the current practices by leveraging (a) optical remote sensing for autonomous data collection, (b) vision-based techniques for automated data interpretation, (c) enhanced methods for damage quantification, and (d) advanced structural simulation coupled with 4D (3D + time) condition assessment data for reliable performance prediction; see the figure. While significant progress has been made in recent years in Structural Health Monitoring (SHM), there is still a need for methods that are 1) non-intrusive – allowing full transport flow capacity during operations, 2) autonomous – enabling reliable and accurate measurements without creating safety hazards, and 3) automated – facilitating subsequent structural simulation and performance prediction. UNICA-feasibility will progress beyond the state-of-the-art to combine autonomous inspection, automated interpretation, enhanced damage quantification, and advanced structural simulation, as shown in the figure. These methods are integral to a comprehensive condition assessment process for sustainment of existing infrastructure and support bridge owners in planning and prioritizing their budgets for rehabilitation purposes.

Partner organizations

  • RISE Research Institutes of Sweden (Research Institute, Sweden)
  • Swedish Cement and Concrete Research Institute (Private, Sweden)
Start date 15/05/2016
End date The project is closed: 15/05/2017
​The project is carried out by the Division of Structural Engineering, research group Concrete Structures .

Concrete Structures; Infrastructure; Condition Assessment; optical remote sensing; vision-based techniques; structural simulation

Related projects:
  • UNICA-pilot – Autonomous non-intrusive condition assessment of infrastructure – towards automation, system thinking, and complete solution
  • Digital Twin I – Comprehensive Condition Assessment for Resilient Transport Infrastructure under Normal Service Conditions and Extreme Climatic Events
  • Digital Twin as a Decision-Making Support Tool for Resilience of Urban’s Infrastructure under Extreme Climatic Events

Funded by

  • Swedish Cement and Concrete Research Institute (Private, Sweden)
  • RISE Research Institutes of Sweden (Research Institute, Sweden)
  • Chalmers University of Technology (Site, Sweden)
  • Chalmers University of Technology (Publisher, Sweden)

Page manager Published: Thu 31 May 2018.