Building Inspection, Maintenance and Facility Management

Autonomous Inspection of Roads for Subsidence

Challenge Statement Owner:

Asia Laboratories Pte Ltd (Asia Labs) was established in Singapore and aims to be a trusted testing partner that brings clients the highest degree of quality and safety, thus contributing towards the centuries-old need for safe products. Currently, Asia Labs owns a few labs in Singapore and Malaysia, including R.A.K. Materials Consultants Pte Ltd and AMT Laboratories Sdn Bhd, providing an increasingly diverse range of technical services required by the construction and building industry in Singapore and the rest of Southeast Asia.


Road subsidence and collapse is an issue in large urban cities, due to the intense and large-scale development of underground spaces under which these roads lie. When excavation is carried out to prepare for the installation of new infrastructure, it can result in displacement of the geological structure of the underground spaces. For example, the construction of MRT tunnels can add complexity to the original underground makeup, resulting in a loss of structural integrity. Additionally, rapid urban development results in an increased prevalence of issues like leaks in underground pipes, incomplete backfilling of deep excavation, and rainwater scouring of road structures. As a result, the risk of road subsidence increases.

Furthermore, in large coastal cities like Singapore, geological conditions such as decline in groundwater level and the soil structures can result in instability of foundations, making them vulnerable to traffic loads and other environmental factors. This further raises the risk of road subsidence, necessitating regular monitoring of roads to detect and mitigate road subsidence hazards as early as possible. 

Currently, handheld ground-penetrating radar devices are used for inspection, with the aim of detecting areas with high levels of road collapse hazards. However, with so much ground to cover, conducting road inspections manually is an expensive, tedious and time-consuming process. Therefore, Asia Labs sees an opportunity to automate the process of road inspection to ensure that more area can be covered in a significantly shorter amount of time.

The Challenge

Asia Labs is looking for a solution to automate the process of road inspection with ground-penetrating radar (GPR).


The solution should:

GPR equipment

  • Be lightweight enough to be mounted on a small vehicle such as a car or pick-up;
  • Be detachable;
  • Be multi-band with range of frequency of 50 t0 2000 MHz in order to detect targets ranging from 1cm to 50cm; and
  • Have a roadbed detection depth greater than 2.5m and resolution less than 10cm.
  • Able to detect the following hidden road defects which include:some text
    • Rupture and leakage of underground pipe network;
    • Incomplete backfilling of deep excavation;
    • Rainwater scouring of road structures;
    • Decline in groundwater level; and
    • Soft soil foundation structure

Automated radar data interpretation software

  • Detect abnormal images picked up by the GPR with at least 90% accuracy;
  • Identify infrastructure diseases from abnormal images with at least 80% accuracy;
  • Be able to process data at a rate of at least 100 km/day; and
  • Have a software interface that is compatible with mainstream hardware devices such as the GPR and other equipment used for the solution.

Proof-of-concept (POC)/Pilot Support

Asia Labs is a commercial testing laboratory that regularly conducts inspections on major roads in Singapore. They will work with their clients to provide test sites.

Asia Labs is willing to work with early-stage solution providers.  Following a successful POC, they are keen to work with the solution provider on commercialising the solution.


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Recording from Q&A Session