Published on: November 2023


The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) of the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) has awarded a significant grant to a research team from the University of Texas at Austin, recognizing their innovative approach to improving highway transportation infrastructure. The team led by Dr. Salvatore Salamone and consisting of Dr. Oguzhan Bayrak, Dr. Anca Ferche, and Dr. Krishna Kumar has received a three-year grant totaling $988,911, marking a major step forward in the application of advanced AI technologies in infrastructure research.

This grant, which is part of the FHWA’s “Exploratory Advanced Research” program, will be supplemented by an additional contribution of $247,228 from the University of Texas at Austin. The EAR program is designed to fund cutting-edge research that applies emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, to address complex and pressing issues in highway transportation. Dr Kumar’s work will focus on building edge-capable AI algorithms and solutions for infrastructure monitoring.

The focus of the team’s research is the development of a vision-based technology platform for the rapid assessment of reinforced concrete (RC) structures. This innovative approach involves the use of a novel, low-cost sensing system that incorporates mixed-reality technology. Furthermore, the project will leverage artificial intelligence (AI)-driven data processing techniques. The aim is to identify critical strength-related deficiencies in RC structures, thereby aiding in the prioritization of maintenance, retrofitting, and repair efforts.

This project is a collaborative effort, with the Texas Department of Transportation and Screening Eagle Technologies also participating alongside UT Austin team. The collaboration underscores the interdisciplinary nature of the project, bringing together experts in engineering, technology, and transportation.

The grant and the research it supports represent a significant advancement in the field of highway transportation. By integrating AI and mixed-reality technology into infrastructure assessment, the research team at the University of Texas at Austin is setting a new standard for how transportation infrastructure is maintained and improved. Their work promises to enhance the safety, efficiency, and longevity of highway transportation systems, not just in Texas but potentially across the United States and beyond.