| Connect Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook
About | Subscribe | Advertise


Download our free ebook on Ultra-High-Pressure Waterjetting

Paint and Coatings Industry News

Main News Page

Bridge Bot Honored for Innovation

Thursday, June 19, 2014

More items for Program/Project Management

Comment | More

U.S. engineers are toasting an innovative robotic bridge inspection tool for its impact on the future of assessing structural health.

The Robotics Assisted Bridge Inspection Tool (RABIT) is a collaboration between the Federal Highway Administration and Rutgers University's Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT).

The automated bridge deck assessment tool recently received the prestigious 2014 Charles Pankow Award for Innovation from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

Rutgers University

The Robotics Assisted Bridge Inspection Tool (RABIT), a collaboration of FHWA and Rutgers University, received ASCE's 2014 Charles Pankow Award for Innovation.

The annual award celebrates collaboration in innovative design, materials, or construction-related research and development transferred into practice in a sustainable manner.

Winners have to show that the technology will have an impact on the construction industry by reducing costs, waste, delivery times, worker injuries, and/or pollution, as well as increase safety and durability.

5 Years, 1,000 Bridges

The RABIT is now collecting and analyzing data on a representative sample of bridges throughout six states—Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia—and Washington, D.C. to "fine tune" its capabilities.

The goal of the project is to use the robot on 1,000 bridges nationwide over the next five years. Officials will collect and analyze data on how the structures perform under different environmental and traffic conditions. They also will evaluate the effectiveness of different methods of maintenance and rehabilitation.

The project team is led by Nenand Gucunski, chair of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Rutgers.

"The Center's expertise in infrastructure conditional monitoring, Gucunski's experience in nondestructive evaluation technologies and with testing, and additions from multiple School of Engineering faculty and students turned an innovative idea into a breakthrough bridge monitoring technology," Rutgers said in an award announcement.

Drew Noel /

"It's so important that we're able to solve problems today, not five years from today. What you have done here is really, really amazing," FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez said at the robot's first public demonstration.

The team also includes Ali Maher, director of the Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation; Basily Basily, industrial engineering assistant research professor; Hung La, post-doctoral associate; and university researchers Ronny Lim and Hooman Parvardeh.

Gucunski and his team were honored March 20 at ASCE's Outstanding Projects and Leaders Gala.

Revolutionary Data Collection

The RABIT automates data collection while using several nondestructive evaluation technologies, including ground penetrating radar, electrical resistivity and acoustic arrays for impact echo and surface wave testing.

According to Rutgers, one of the most revolutionary aspects of the RABIT is its enhanced data interpretation and visualization capabilities.

By combining various data sets, the robot can create an "almost instantaneous three-dimensional snapshot of bridge deck condition that is easy to interpret." the university reports

"By using innovative technology, we can better identify needed bridge repairs, which is all part of the president's vision for improved transportation infrastructure," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said when the RABIT was launched in 2013.

Rutgers University

The robot aims to visit 1,000 bridges over the next five years.

FHWA plans to use the data to develop a better understanding of concrete bridge deck deterioration to enable more realistic life cycle cost models.

First Public Demo

At a the RABIT's first public demo earlier this year on the Route 15 bridge over Route 66 in Virginia, FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez said, "This is what we've been talking about at U.S. DOT and FHWA—it's about innovation and bringing solutions to the real world.

"It's so important that we're able to solve problems today, not five years from today. What you have done here is really, really amazing."

The robot is a product of the Long-Term Bridge Performance Program, a FHWA research initiative to collect and analyze data on a representative sample of  bridges around the country to understand how they react under certain conditions.

Launched in 2008, the bridge performance project is led by Rutgers' CAIT and is envisioned as a 20-year comprehensive examination of the nation’s “workhorse” highway bridges.


Tagged categories: American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE); Awards and honors; Bridges; Concrete; Department of Transportation (DOT); Federal Highway Administration (FHWA); Infrastructure; Inspection; Research

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Covestro (formerly Bayer)
Bayer MaterialScience is now Covestro.

The pioneering spirit of our first 150 years will drive the bold vision of our next 150: to develop the industry’s most innovative coatings solutions.

Ethox Chemicals LLC
Ethoflex® ER instantly upgrades your epoxy!

The only epoxy additive that improves flexibility, corrosion resistance, toughness, and adhesion, without hurting pot life, cure time, or increasing VOCs.

PPG Protective and Marine Coatings Group
Industrial strength performance in ONE can.

Now get the durability and protection of two components in one can: Amercoat® ONE, PSX® ONE and Sigmadur ONE.

Nationwide Overspray
Profession Overspray Removal Services

The Finest Name in Safe Overspray Removal. We specialize in removing all contaminants from any surface. Family Owned and Operated for 33 years! Fully insured. Satisfaction is guaranteed.

Corrosion Probe, Inc.
From Detection to Correction

Corrosion Probe, Inc. has the Most Concrete Coatings Experience and Expertise. Contact us today at

Thermion Inc
Buy Back Program

We are offering $5,000
credit for your old Model
This drive system is
being discontinued by
the manufacturer.
More information at

Sherwin-Williams Protective & Marine Coatings

With 4,000 distribution points and 3,700+ years of experience, Sherwin-Williams delivers the products, support and expertise you need, right where you need it.

Termarust Technologies
Termarust (HR CSA) Chemically Stops
Active Corrosion

Truss bridge treated with Termarust's (HR CSA) in 1995. This highway & rail truss bridge is still stable and there still is no active corrosion.

HoldTight Solutions Inc.

Our HoldTight®102 salt remover & flash rust preventer prevents flash
rust by removing surface contaminants. It has no equal; only wannabees.
Contact us for your
nearest distributor.
(800) 319.8802

Safway Services
Suspended Access Made Easy With QuikDeck™

The smart choice for suspended access, QuikDeck’s interchangeable, lightweight components make them easy to set up and reassemble when you need to move.

Technology Publishing

The Technology Publishing Network

The Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings (JPCL) PaintSquare
Durability + Design Paint BidTracker

EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us

© Copyright 2000-2015, Technology Publishing / PaintSquare, All rights reserved
2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951; Tel 1-412-431-8300; Fax 1-412-431-5428; E-mail