Autonomous Mobile Asphalt Density Profiling Robot to Reduce Worker Risk


Ted Morris, Nikolaos Papanikolopoulos

June 2023

Report no. CTS 23-04



MnDOT pavement construction personnel have lately improved quality assurance (QA) through the use of nondestructive air coupled ground penetrating radar sensors. Although proving to be accurate, the acquisition process can be manually intensive and hazardous especially when deployed adjacent to prevailing traffic. The primary objective of this project was to deliver to MnDOT two low-cost, modular, highly transportable, mobile robot platforms designed specifically for pavement density profile testing. Several field tests were performed to assess feasibility of the platform under different operational scenarios. Modularity was ensured by integrating separate, distributed, plug-and-play modules that could be reused for other mobile platforms, should the need arise for future implementations. By implementing two robots, the transferability of the architecture was demonstrated. The mobile robotic platforms were purposely assembled from widely available, low-cost, commercial, off-the-shelf components to minimize overall cost, recognizing that the landscape for such platforms has been evolving rapidly.

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