Intelligent robotic systems for structural health monitoring: applications and future trends

Yongding Tian, Chao Chen, Kwesi Sagoe-Crentsil, Jian Zhang, Wenhui Duan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


The application of the cutting-edge technologies of robotics and computer science to structural health monitoring (SHM) of bridges have gained much attention. This review describes existing robotic systems in three areas: (1) rigid robotic systems, such as mobile robots, wall-climbing robots, cable-climbing robots, and flying drones, for the inspection of surface/subsurface defects; (2) mobile robots, climbing robots and flying drones for dynamic response (e.g., accelerations, displacements) measurement, modal identification, and cable tension force estimation; (3) multimodal rigid robots and soft wall-climbing robots with SHM potential. The development of multimodal robotic systems, such as flying and perching drones, hybrid terrestrial–aquatic robots, hybrid aerial–aquatic robots, and hybrid flying and walking robots, have great potential for performing multiple inspection tasks when various Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) tools are integrated with those robotic systems. Another trend is to design soft robotics with smart materials for inspection tasks in some special/space-confined environment because of the advantages of lightweight, high adaptability, and less requirement for electric motors compared with rigid robotics. This comprehensive literature review is intended to provide guidelines for choosing the appropriate robotic platform for defect inspection or vibration measurement of bridges and other types of civil infrastructure. It also can give some insights into the development of versatile robots for SHM applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104273
Number of pages11
JournalAutomation in Construction
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


  • Climbing robots
  • Defect inspection
  • Drones
  • Robotics
  • Soft robots
  • Structural health monitoring
  • Vibration measurement

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