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Volume 32, Number 3, September 2023

Using 3D asphalt pavement surface data, a deep and multiscale network named CrackNet-M is proposed in this paper for pixel-level crack detection for improvements in both accuracy and robustness. The CrackNet-M consists of four function-specific architectural modules: a central branch net (CBN), a crack map enhancement (CME) module, three pooling feature pyramids (PFP), and an output layer. The CBN maintains crack boundaries using no pooling reductions throughout all convolutional layers. The CME applies a pooling layer to enhance potential thin cracks for better continuity, consuming no data loss and attenuation when working jointly with CBN. The PFP modules implement direct down-sampling and pyramidal upsampling with multiscale contexts specifically for the detection of thick cracks and exclusion of non-crack patterns. Finally, the output layer is optimized with a skip layer supervision technique proposed to further improve the network performance. Compared with traditional supervisions, the skip layer supervision brings about not only significant performance gains with respect to both accuracy and robustness but a faster convergence rate. CrackNet-M was trained on a total of 2,500 pixel-wise annotated 3D pavement images and finely scaled with another 200 images with full considerations on accuracy and efficiency. CrackNet-M can potentially achieve crack detection in real-time with a processing speed of 40 ms/image. The experimental results on 500 testing images demonstrate that CrackNet-M can effectively detect both thick and thin cracks from various pavement surfaces with a high level of Precision (94.28%), Recall (93.89%), and F-measure (94.04%). In addition, the proposed CrackNet-M compares favorably to other well-developed networks with respect to the detection of thin cracks as well as the removal of shoulder drop-offs.

Key Words
3D pavement; crack detection; deep learning; functional-specific modules; real-time processing

"(1) Guolong Wang, Kelvin C.P. Wang, Guangwei Yang:
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Oklahoma State University, 207 Engineering South, Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA;
(2) Allen A. Zhang:
Department of Civil Engineering, Southwest Jiaotong University, No. 111, North 1st Section of Second Ring Road, Chengdu, China."

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