This paper proposes a novel method for bridge inspection that essentially digitises bridges using LIDAR so that they can be later inspected in a virtual reality environment. The work uses conventional terrestrial LIDAR together with affordable virtual reality hardware and freely available software development kits originally intended for authoring computer games. The resulting VR app is evaluated for a case study involving a typical masonry bridge; comparing the proposed technique with traditional inspection methods. The new approach promises to be highly effective in terms of interpretation of results, accessibility to critical areas and safety of inspectors. The work represents an important step towards the creation of digital twins of important assets in the built environment. Recent bridge collapse incidents have affected local economies, traffic congestion, and in some extreme cases led to a loss of life. The work is timely as law making agencies are paying greater attention to structural rehabilitation. This paper will be of particular interest to bridge engineers, construction professionals and law makers; and could lead to future revisions of bridge inspection processes and standards.
- Virtual Reality
- Digital Twin