RAPID OBJECT DETECTION SYSTEMS, UTILISING DEEP LEARNING AND UNMANNED AERIAL SYSTEMS (UAS) FOR CIVIL ENGINEERING APPLICATIONS
With deep learning approaches now out-performing traditional image processing techniques for image understanding, this paper accesses the potential of rapid generation of Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) for applied engineering purposes. Three CNNs are trained on 275 UAS-derived and freely available online images for object detection of 3m2 segments of railway track. These includes two models based on the Faster RCNN object detection algorithm (Resnet and Incpetion-Resnet) as well as the novel onestage Focal Loss network architecture (Retinanet). Model performance was assessed with respect to three accuracy metrics. The first two consisted of Intersection over Union (IoU) with thresholds 0.5 and 0.1. The last assesses accuracy based on the proportion of track covered by object detection proposals against total track length. In under six hours of training (and two hours of manual labelling) the models detected 91.3 %, 83.1 % and 75.6 % of track in the 500 test images acquired from the UAS survey Retinanet, Resnet and Inception-Resnet respectively. We then discuss the potential for such applications of such systems within the engineering field for a range of scenarios.