Instantaneous Road Defect Identification Using a Dynamic Tire Pressure Sensor

Abstract

Tire inflation pressure supports the structure of the tire and the weight of our vehicle as it travels along the road. Any variation in the supporting asphalt-concrete will cause a change in the tire shape and its internal pressure. The dynamic pressure response of rotating tires under various road situations, hence, not only reflects the information of the obstacle (bump and pothole), but also reflects the type of different surface defects (crack, corrugation, joint, etc.). This work presents a non-destructive and non-contact instantaneous acoustic sensing approach for fast inspection of road and bridge deck conditions with vehicles running at normal speed without stopping traffic. A system, which contains a dynamic tire pressure sensor (DTPS), a wireless unit, and an energy harvester, possesses the capability to estimate road surface profile as well as subsurface defect, such as delamination, from a moving vehicle. Numerical and experimental studies of the DTPS system (above 30 kHz) have been carried out. A data analysis algorithm has been developed and optimized to enhance the calculation speed and detection accuracy. It reveals a strong potential of using tire generated acoustic signals to detect both surface and subsurface defects of road and bridge deck in the frequency range between 5 Hz and 2000 Hz.