Dutch highways agencies go high tech to cut road surface damage
Case study – HORUSIntertraffic – 27th March 2012 – Sony booth 11.321
Potholes are estimated to cost the UK government alone up to £13.4 billion (€15.9 billion) each year, according to 2011 local authority survey data released by the UK’s opposition party, Labour. Damage is particularly bad, and costly, in winter as water seeps into road cracks and expands as it freezes.
Yet, detecting damage has been a labour intensive process, requiring a both information from the public and a large number of certified specialists to slowly travel the length of a council’s roads by foot or bike to evaluate which holes need repairs, often requiring lane or road closures.
To more rapidly, accurately and cost effectively detect damage to roads, authorities in the Netherlands have turned to technology and adopted a high speed, 360o camera system capable of accurately recording data from up to 3 lanes simultaneously at speeds up to 130kph (80mph).
By adopting such a system the councils are able to more easily prioritise repairs to ensure potholes that would cause accidents or damage to car are filled first.
Government authorities in Holland – as well as contractors such as BAM, BallastNedam, and Heijmans - have implemented a system from Dutch systems integrator Horus. Horus’ car based vision system combines six high resolution colour video cameras modules from Sony Image Sensing Solutions (XCG-H280CR) placed around the vehicle. Video data at 15fps are transmitted via high speed GigE cable to an on board CPU and positional information is also linked to each frame using an onboard GPS recorder.
Using a bespoke media player with integrated mapping functionality, the authorities’ team of certified experts analyse the data from the safety of office.
“Recording at such high speeds means it’s now possible to monitor the main routes on an almost weekly basis, so the data can now be used to prevent more costly damage from occurring,” commented Dirk Aalbers of Horus.
Stéphane Clauss of Sony’s Image Sensing Solutions division said: “When initially discussing the project Horus let us know that different inspectors rank road surface damage differently and the Dutch authorities wanted to remove this subjectivity. By working closely with the sensor development team at Sony our XCG-H280CR delivers the essential exceptional image quality, even when travelling at 130kph and on bumpy roads.”
Through the implementation of software algorithms highways agencies are also able to automatically monitor for and identify a number of additional hazards, such as streetlights with blown bulbs. The company is also developing a 3D video analysis algorithm to detect roadside barriers that are damaged or warped and therefore would no longer be effective when a vehicle drives into them.
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Rob Ashwell, Publitek
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