Manhole covers, which are a key element of urban infrastructure management, have a direct impact on travel safety. At present, there is no automatic, safe, and efficient system specially used for the intelligent detection, identification, and assessment of manhole covers. In this work, we developed an automatic detection, identification, and assessment system for manhole covers. First, we developed a sequential exposure system via the addition of multiple cameras in a symmetrical arrangement to realize the joint acquisition of high-precision laser data and ultra-high-resolution ground images. Second, we proposed an improved histogram of an oriented gradient with symmetry features and a support vector machine method to detect manhole covers effectively and accurately, by using the intensity images and ground orthophotos that are derived from the laser points and images, respectively, and apply the graph segmentation and statistical analysis to achieve the detection, identification, and assessment of manhole covers. Qualitative and quantitative analyses are performed using large experimental datasets that were acquired with the modified manhole-cover detection system. The detected results yield an average accuracy of 96.18%, completeness of 94.27%, and F-measure value of 95.22% in manhole cover detection. Defective manhole-cover monitoring and manhole-cover ownership information are achieved from these detection results. The results not only provide strong support for road administration works, such as data acquisition, manhole cover inquiry and inspection, and statistical analysis of resources, but also demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed method, which reduces the risk involved in performing manual inspections, improves the manhole-cover detection accuracy, and serves as a powerful tool in intelligent road administration.