Introducing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to multi-criteria performance assessment of inspection techniques for port concrete infrastructure


  • Christina N. Tsaimou Laboratory of Harbour Works, Department of Water Resources and Environmental Engineering, School of Civil Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, Zografou 15780, Greece
  • Konstantina T. Chelioti Laboratory of Harbour Works, Department of Water Resources and Environmental Engineering, School of Civil Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, Zografou 15780, Greece
  • Vasiliki K. Tsoukala Laboratory of Harbour Works, Department of Water Resources and Environmental Engineering, School of Civil Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, Zografou 15780, Greece



Port concrete infrastructure, Condition monitoring, Inspection techniques, Non-Destructive Testing (NDT), Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), Multi-criteria decision analysis


Port infrastructure plays an important role in the economic and social activities of the regions they serve. Pressures induced by the corrosive marine environment and weather conditions, unexpected events associated with climate change, the usually high freight and vehicle loading conditions, the dynamic load of the equipment, and insufficient maintenance and rehabilitation measures that sometimes are not enough to repair an in-service facility, increase the susceptibility of port structures to rapid aging and deterioration. To ensure port infrastructure safety and reliability, and to maintain operational efficiency, port managers are tasked with forming successful inspection schemes for structural condition monitoring. Within this context, identifying the capabilities and prioritizing existing inspection techniques allow for optimizing resources (cost, time, personnel). The issue of performance assessment for commonly used Non-Destructive Testing techniques has received significant research interest. However, state-of-the-art Unmanned Aerial Vehicle techniques have not been previously involved in studies that assess the performance of various inspection techniques. Hence, the present research seeks to introduce Unmanned Aerial Vehicles techniques into multi-criteria performance assessment practices of inspection techniques for port concrete infrastructure. Three Non-Destructive Techniques: a) Infrared Thermography, b) Ground Penetrating Radar, and c) Impact-Echo, are compared to camera-based Unmanned Aerial Vehicle techniques linked to Close Range Photogrammetry applications. A qualitative approach, including a literature review and expert judgment, is applied to acquire data required for Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis practices with the Preference Ranking Organization METHod for Enrichment Evaluation methodology. The ranking output of the applied model is validated with other multi-criteria methods to ensure the robustness of the results. The obtained results for the specific set of criteria will assist decision-makers in selecting the most suitable technique for inspecting surface or sub-surface defects in port concrete infrastructure.


  • The integration of UAV-driven techniques into current practices for assessing the performance of inspection techniques affects the ranking order
  • The prioritization of the inspection techniques is conducted qualitatively (expert judgment and literature survey) by implementing the PROMETHEE method
  • A camera-based UAV technique improves the practical part of inspections and provides flexibility
  • A camera-based UAV technique is the optimal inspection technique for detecting surface defects, while Impact Echo is preferred for sub-surface defects


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How to Cite

Tsaimou, C. N., Chelioti, K. T., & Tsoukala, V. K. (2024). Introducing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to multi-criteria performance assessment of inspection techniques for port concrete infrastructure. Maritime Technology and Research, 6(4), 269216.