Automated condition assessment of

Airfield at Pearson Airport


Toronto Pearson International Airport is an international airport located in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. It is the main airport serving Toronto, its metropolitan area, and the surrounding region known as the Golden Horseshoe. The runways at this airport has been active since 1938. Toronto Pearson is operated by the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) as part of Transport Canada’s National Airports System.


Being over 85 years old, with changing climates and aging infrastructure, inspection, monitoring, maintenance, and management for airfield concrete and asphalt pavement is important for maintaining uninterrupted operations, reducing foreign object debris, and eliminating damage and danger to aircraft.

However, the current pavement condition assessment and inspection method is laborious, time-consuming, and subjective. With current methods, pavement engineers map 20% of an airfields pavement condition by hand, leading to subjectivity and incomplete results.

The Airport is managed by GTAA and was surveyed by Niricson to establish a data-driven condition assessment of the runway to enhance safety reviews and inspections. By creating a digital baseline for airfield pavement with AUTOSPEX™, asset owners receive the most objective and quantifiable asset deterioration information for proactive and preventive maintenance, helping to eliminate pavement-related damage to aircraft and operational disruptions due to pavement maintenance and construction.


For the runway inspection, Niricson employed DRONIC™ (patented multi-layered data collection and fusion architecture, along with a proprietary drone-equipped concrete sounding hammer) and AUTOSPEX™ (patent pending AI-backed platform for defect detection, quantification, and tracking for digital infrastructure condition survey) technologies. These technologies, including an AI-backed defect detection platform, collected high-res optical imagery at the site.

Niricson worked with GTAA to deploy one drone for data collection at a resolution of 2mm on the 60,400 square meter runway. The collection process took 3.5 hours and only 5 weeks for the client to receive a preliminary draft report.

With AUTOSPEXᵀᴹ, asset owners can easily navigate their structure, interact with the detected defects, and discern the length, width, or volume of the distress. This dataset allows asset owners to quantifiably monitor their structure and how its performing over time, estimate quantities for repair contractors, and use the data for PCI calculations.

Niricson Provided GTAA with a detailed 3D model of the runway along with quantified defect maps at 1mm pixel resolution through its patented cloud platform AUTOSPEX™.

Niricson’s patented technology and software are integral to creating a detailed assessment of the GTAA’s Runway. The data and models generated from this survey can be used to support multiple objectives including:

  • Develop long-term maintenance plans
  • Enhance safety inspections and insights
  • Collaborate with contractors and consultants on specific repair programs
  • Maintain an accurate record of the asset’s condition

By taking this initiative GTAA succeeded in creating a digital baseline of those assets powered by Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, which is repeatable in the future and will allow tracking of changes in conditions over time to establish trends and allow data-driven decision making.