Unmanned Aerial Systems for Transportation Decision Support
Task 1: Project coordination
The supervision, scheduling, and phasing of personnel and resources associated with the project.
Finalized project timeline, acquisition of equipment and needed supplies and relay of project team effort to team members.
Task 2: Reporting
Activities related to reporting progress and results to the funding agency including quarterly reports and final reports, all submitted to DOT.
White papers; Quarterly reports, draft and final reports; Revised project activities and deliverables as needed.
Task 3: Stakeholder/partnership meetings
Establish the advisory committee and carry out meetings with external groups and collaborators, including state transportation departments, industry partners, and the advisory committee. Meetings include: project kick-off, advisory committee updates, meetings with local/state transportation agency personnel, selection of UAS flight sites, industry/commercial integration partner meetings, and stakeholder decision support feedback. The committee will review project progress and provide guidance throughout the life of the project.
Create an advisory board of transportation agencies members and subject matter experts; Meeting notes.
Task 4: UAS Operations
Planning, data acquisition, and data processing associated with UAS operations. Flight planning consists of establishing the flight using eMotion software, obtaining flight approval, updating and completing flight and equipment checklists, updating and following operating procedures, flight operations, and after-action reports. UAS operations will be conducted for the four categorical areas of this project: a) geomorphic assessment, b) construction management and phasing, c) resource allocation, and d) cost decision support. For geomorphic assessment UAS data will be collected for several high priority streams or rivers. The UAS data will support updating stream geomorphic assessments and hydrologic models. For the construction management and phasing focus area, UAS data will be collected to facilitate the creation of decision support products for transportation construction projects that transportation planners have identified as requiring monitoring and assessment. For both the resource allocation and cost decision support focus areas, UAS data will be collected over portions of a transportation network affected by a natural disaster. In support of all the categorical areas we will establish protocols and procedures for integrated UAS collection operations. Integrated operations use more than one UAS to cover a large area and offer the potential to overcome the range limitations inherent to lightweight UAS. Guiding documentation for integrated UAS operations will be for developed and refined.
Flight plans; UAS operating guidelines to include a UAS equipment checklist, UAS flight checklist, UAS operating procedures and manual
Task 5: Decision Support Tools
Decision support tools to support the four categorical areas. Specific task details for each of the four categorical areas are as follows.
Geomorphic assessment. Decision support tools for geomorphic assessment will focus on the development and validation of using UAS data and associated tools to assess change in a hydrologic network and update geomorphic assessments and hydrologic models. Orthophoto mosaics and 3D point clouds will be generated from the UAS data using image cost matching techniques. The 3D point clouds will then be converted into a raster Digital Surface Model (DSM). The DSM will serve as the basis for computing flow direction, which will then be subsequently used to derive flow accumulation. Raster thresholding will be employed in conjunction with manual interpretation to extract the hydrologic network. Cross section analysis tools will be developed to compare existing stream profiles to those obtained from the UAS data and morphological change will be computed for the stream thalweg. The Stream Geomorphic Assessment Protocols will then be applied to the data to compute stream segments, upslope contributing area, and channel width. Updated geomorphic assessment information will be summarized in a report. UAS data and spatial hydrologic datasets will be provided to state transportation agencies for the purposes of updating GIS-based hydrologic models. Comparisons will be carried out with recent field-based geomorphic assessments to understand the advantages and disadvantages of using UAS data for geomorphic assessment.
Construction management and phasing. UAS data and associated decision support tools will be developed to support construction management and phasing. A specific emphasis will be put on generating high-temporal resolution datasets that facilitate the visualization, tracking, and management associated with long-term construction projects and developing web-based and mobile tools to harness these datasets. Orthophoto mosaics and 3D point clouds will be generated from the UAS data using image cost matching techniques. 2D and 3D static visualization products will be generated to provide updates on the construction status. 2D orthophoto mosaics will be integrated into the Vermont Agency of Transportation’s GIS to enable multi-temporal visualization. An online web mapping application, using MapBox® technology will be designed, developed and deployed to facilitate the visualization of the orthophoto mosaics over the course of the project. A mobile device asset management tool using the Fulcrum® application will be designed, developed, and deployed to provide access to the UAS data when conducting on-site construction phase verification using both connected (mobile network accessible) and disconnected (mobile network not accessible) modes.
Resource allocation. Decision support for resource allocation will center of determining the location and extent of damage to a transportation network using UAS data, disseminating UAS products to managers, and assessing the capabilities and limitations of UAS data and products compared to traditional approaches. Rapid image chip products containing raw UAS imagery will be generated upon UAS landing. Orthophotos from the UAS data will be produced using cost image matching techniques. The rapid image chips and orthophotos will be exploited to assess damage and identify staging areas. The cost benefit of rapid image chip exploitation versus orthorectified image exploitation in terms of time and accuracy will be assessed. The types of resources that can and cannot be allocated using UAS data products will be determined. The optimal approach for compressing UAS data then transmitting these data from the field across WiMax and mobile cellular networks to the incident command center will be established. The applicability for using purchasing decisions for materials using remotely sensed data will be evaluated. Finally, steps for integrating UAS data into the National Incident Management System (NIMS) at the “resource” and “recovery” phases will be developed.
Cost decision support. The fill volume estimation tool developed as part of RITARS-12-H-UVM will be enhanced so that in addition to providing fill estimates it also provides information on overall cost to repair portions of the transportation infrastructure following events such as flooding and erosion. Historical data on the cost of fill needed to repair washed-out roads resulting from flooding will be compiled. The relationship between the volume of road washed out and the fill cost will be determined. The fill estimation tool developed in RITARS-12-H-UVM will be updated to predict the cost of fill needed to repair the roads. Model savings associated with making more rapid decisions using UAS data as opposed to traditional approaches will be computed. A web-based mapping portal to disseminate information will be developed.
Geomorphic assessment: 2D orthophoto mosaics, 3D point clouds, Updated hydrologic network in GIS format, Stream cross sections and morphological change,Geomorphic assessment report,Comparison of UAS-based geomorphic assessment to field-based ones.
Construction management and phasing: 2D orthophoto mosaics,3D point clouds, GeoPDF visualization products, Web-based multi-temporal mapping portal, Mobile construction phasing assessment tool.
Resource allocation: KML image chip files, 2D compressed orthophoto mosaics, Best practices/NIMS integration white paper.
Cost decision support: Updated fill estimation/cost estimation tool, Web-based mapping portal.
Task 6: Training and Outreach
Hosted workshop and online “virtual campus” tutorials and data. Training data will be assembled from the missions conducted in task 4. Three videos will be produced to UAS decision support tools. A training manual will be compiled for the workshop. A workshop on UAS decision support tools will be given in UVM’s geospatial teaching facility and feedback from attendees will be gathered. All materials will be posted online for universal access.
Workshop on UAS products for transportation decision support; Online training materials including videos, sample data, and step-by-step manuals.
Task 7: Publications/Presentations
Documentation of the project and its results in conference/journal publications and conference presentations. Development of training and operational materials for dissemination to stakeholders.
A paper submitted to a conference or peer-reviewed journal; A conference presentation of the results.
Task 8: Business Plan Development
Cost accounting to support the development of a business plan to enable UAS services to be offered to state and local transportation agencies once the RITA project has come to a conclusion.
Business plan to include Cost Accounting, Rate Calculations, Market Analysis and Plan, Management Team, and Revenue Projections.
For an update on where the project is with respect to output/deliverables, please see the most recent Quarterly Report.