Real-time drive-by bridge damage detection using deep auto-encoder

Zhenkun Li, Weiwei Lin*, Youqi Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
66 Downloads (Pure)


Structural health condition monitoring of bridge structures has been a concern in the last decades due to their aging and deterioration, in which the core task is damage detection. Recently, the drive-by method has gained much attention as it only needs several sensors installed on the passing vehicle. In this paper, we proposed an automatic damage detection method, which can be exploited in real time when the vehicle is passing the bridge. There are three steps in the proposed method: (1) The vehicle’s framed short-time vibrations instead of full-length data are utilized for training a deep auto-encoder model; at this stage, not commonly used time-domain accelerations of the passing vehicle, but its selected frequency-domain responses are employed to circumvent the influence of noises, (2) For the bridge with unknown health conditions, damage indicators can be extracted from its passing vehicle’s short-time vibration data using the trained model, and (3) The bridge’s health states are determined by real-time extracted damage indicators. To verify the proposed idea, a U-shaped continuous beam and a model truck are used to simulate the vehicle bridge interaction system in engineering. Results showed that the proposed method could identify the bridge’s damage with an accuracy of 86.2% when different severity was considered. In addition, it was observed that higher damage severity could not be revealed by greater values of damage indicators in the laboratory test. Instead, a novel index called identified damage ratios was employed as a reference for assessing the severity of the bridge’s damage. It was shown that with the increase in damage severity, the index would increase and gradually approach 100%.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1167-1181
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Structural health monitoring
  • Damage detection
  • Drive-by
  • Short-time Fourier transform
  • Deep auto-encoder


Dive into the research topics of 'Real-time drive-by bridge damage detection using deep auto-encoder'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this