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Aging and degradation of transportation infrastructure pose significant safety concerns, especially in light of increased use of these structures. The economic downturn further exacerbates such concerns, especially for critical structures such as bridges, where replacement is infeasible and maintenance and repair are expensive. The US Federal Highway Administration has classified over 25% of the bridges in the United States as either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, underscoring the importance of structural health monitoring (SHM) to ensure public safety. We give an overview of emerging wireless sensor networks (WSN) for autonomous SHM systems, their application, the power use and sources needed to support autonomy, and the type of communication that allows remote monitoring.
Date of Publication: December 2010