Truck-mounted pavement deflection monitoring system using high precision laser scanners and inertial sensors

Physical Sciences : Civil Engineering

Available for licensing


  • Jorge Prozzi, Ph.D. , Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
  • Christian Claudel, Ph.D. , Civil, Architecure and Environmental Engineering
  • Praveenkumar Pasupathy , Electrical and Computer Engineering

Background/unmet need

Pavement deflection (the elastic deformation of the pavement when a vehicle passes over it) is a very important measure of its condition. To maintain roads as efficiently as possible (given a road maintenance budget), one needs to measure the deflection of the pavement as frequently as possible, since pavement damage is not visible. When damage becomes visible, the pavement has to be replaced, which is much more expensive than repairing it before the damage appears.

Other sensing tools either move at an extremely slow velocity and disrupt traffic, or do not work on all types of pavements. As such, a sensing tool that allows for rapid scanning of pavement deflection and that works on a variety of different pavement types is essential.

Invention Description

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a system that consists of a sensing system mounted on a truck that scans pavement as the truck drives along. It uses data from multiple laser scanning sensors, in conjunction with high-precision accelerometers and gyrometers, to accurately measure the degree of pavement deflection in an area of the road. This data generates a very accurate positioning (in space) of all the sensors, enabling the deflection measurement to be carried out with high precision on a moving platform at moderate velocity.


  • Faster operation than other pavement monitoring systems
  • Scanning does not disrupt traffic around the truck
  • Accurate measurement on a variety of different pavement types


  • Direct laser distance measurement of pavement deflection
  • Accelerometers and gyrometers are used to compensate for sensor errors
  • Ability to accurately position all sensors in space, with a 10 micrometer tolerance

Market potential/applications

Departments of Transportation all around the world. Pavement sensing systems are used in most countries to assess the state of the road infrastructure, so that road repair funds can be optimally allocated.

Development Stage

Lab/bench prototype

IP Status

  • 1 U.S. patent application filed