Artificial Intelligence: How A U.K. County Is Using AI for Road Repair

July 24, 2020 | Artificial Intelligence, News
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The AI system needs a single vehicle and driver, helping maintain social distancing.

Necessity is the mother of invention, they say. The Hertfordshire County Council used to deploy a driver and inspection team to locate and log road faults such as potholes. The system became unworkable during COVID-19 and its social distancing norms. The County solved the problem by deploying a RoadAI system. (ai trends)

How RoadAI works

Hertfordshire, a home county in southern England, used the RoadAI system from Vaisala, a Finnish company specializing in weather, environmental and industrial measurements. The AI solves the County’s dilemma on how to maintain its roads and highways while keeping its workmen safe.

Now, all it needs is a single inspector to drive along the roads, while the AI device logs details of road defects needing repairs.

RoadAI is a mobile data collection system powered by AI. It involves simple data collection on a smartphone that is easily setup and mounted on a windscreen. High definition video is then collected from the inspection vehicle. The data is automatically transferred to the RoadAI cloud, with road conditions being analyzed by computer vision. All the collected data is available for analysis and review by the user through a map-based user interface (UI).  The user can locate and verify the road defects, and export data as well.

COVID-19

The county has approximately 4,000 km of highways. As COVID-19 unfolded, amid social distancing norms, the county fast-forwarded its trials of RoadAI which were progressing since February.

According to Kevin Carrol, divisional manager of Ringway, the county council’s highways contractor, the RoadAI technology allowed workers to be safe while keeping up the maintenance of the highways. At the same time, the county was able to comply with government’s COVID recommendations.

“Social distancing and limitations with public transport have meant that roads are now the principal choice on which people are travelling,” says Carroll. “We need to ensure they are safe for emergency services, key workers and the general public.”

Related Story:    The U.K. Arms Itself With AI to Combat Invasive Plant Species             

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