A deep learning framework based on improved self-supervised learning for ground-penetrating radar tunnel lining inspection

Jian Huang, Xi Yang, Feng Zhou*, Xiaofeng Li, Bin Zhou, Song Lu, Sergey Ivashov, Iraklis Giannakis, Fannian Kong, Evert Slob

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


It is not practical to obtain a large number of labeled data to train a supervised learning network in tunnel lining nondestructive testing with ground-penetrating radar (GPR). To decrease the dependence of supervised learning on the number of labeled data, an improved self-supervised learning algorithm—self-attention dense contrastive learning (SA-DenseCL)—is proposed and incorporated with a mask region-convolution neural network (Mask R-CNN), which is trained by unlabeled and labeled GPR data. The proposed SA-DenseCL adds a self-attention-based relevant projection head to the DenseCL architecture of self-supervised learning, capturing the spatially continuing information between adjacent GPR traces. In the workflow, some unlabeled GPR images are used to pre-train the SA-DenseCL network for feature extraction and obtaining the backbone weights, which is superior to the conventional pre-training methods of supervised learning pre-trained by ImageNet images. The weights of the pre-trained backbone are then used to initialize the Mask R-CNN through transfer learning. Subsequently, a limited number of labeled GPR images are used to fine-tune the Mask R-CNN for automatically identifying the locations of the reinforcement bars and voids and estimating the secondary lining thickness. The experimental results show that the average precision reaches 96.70%, 81.04%, and 94.67% in identifying reinforcement bar locations, detecting void defects, and estimating secondary lining thickness, respectively, which outperform the conventional methods that use ImageNet-based supervised learning or GPR image-based DenseCL for initializing the Mask R-CNN backbone weights. It is observed that the improved self-supervised learning-based framework can improve the detection and estimation accuracy in GPR tunnel lining inspection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)814-833
Number of pages20
JournalComputer-Aided Civil and Infrastructure Engineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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