instantantaneous Bridge Assessment based on Sensor Network Technology

Bridges are subject to a continual process of aging and injury and require continuous monitoring and maintenance, which is associated with considerable costs. Under acute pressure on costs, these measures are often minimized, which in the past led to the expansion of existing damage. The aim of this project is therefore to design a cost effective building management and maintenance through continuous monitoring with advanced information technology. Through the use of sensor network technology, existing measurements in the form of manual inspections should not be replaced but seamlessly complemented.

The long term goal of the project is  to move from individual case studies towards a comprehensive monitoring of bridges using wireless sensor networks. This requires the reduction of effort of using a sensor network for monitoring a bridge - which is now measured in man-years of engineers and scientists. Because each bridge is unique with individual damage and peculiarities, the goal of the project is to develope a monitoring system whcih can be easily and cost-effectively customized for every bridge. This should be achieved by building a modular system consisting of a set of ready-made hardware and software components which can be assembled in the way needed for the specific bridge. The functioning of the selected components should be easily adapted to the monitoring task of the bridge. A central objective of the research and development in this project is therefore a design which can be installed and configured by suitable trained engineers.

To allow field testing of the new methods, the "Landesbetrieb Straßenbau und Verkehr" provides us a motorway bridge.