Complementary imaging for pavement cracking measurements
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Cracking is a major pavement distress that jeopardizes road serviceability and traffic safety. Automated pavement distress survey (APDS) systems have been developed using digital imaging technology to replace human surveys for more timely and accurate inspections. Most APDS systems require special lighting devices to illuminate pavements and prevent shadows of roadside objects that distort cracks in the image. Most of the artificial lighting devices are laser based, which are either hazardous to unprotected people, or require dedicated power supplies on the vehicle. This study is aimed to develop a new imaging system that can scan pavement surface at highway speed and determine the severity level of pavement cracking without using any artificial lighting. The new system consists of dual line-scan cameras that are installed side by side to scan the same pavement area as the vehicle moves. Cameras are controlled with different exposure settings so that both sunlit and shadowed areas can be visible in two separate images. The paired images contain complementary details useful for reconstructing an image in which the shadows are eliminated. This paper intends to presents (1) the design of the dual line-scan camera system for a high-speed pavement imaging system that does not require artificial lighting, (2) a new calibration method for line-scan cameras to rectify and register paired images, which does not need mechanical assistance for dynamical scan, (3) a customized image-fusion algorithm that merges the multi-exposure images into one shadow-free image for crack detection, and (4) the results of the field tests on a selected road over a long period.