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Warren tests AI for road repair

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River McCrossen

07 June 2024, 9:20 PM

Warren tests AI for road repairWarren Shire Council says an AI system is halving the amount of time spent on road inspection. IMAGE: Transport for NSW

Warren Shire has joined trials for an AI project aimed at detecting and predicting road issues.

 

Asset AI fits a Council car dash with a camera that pings defects like potholes, damaged signs and faded line markings, which are sent to maintenance teams. 

 

Warren Shire Divisional Manager Engineering Services, Sylvester Otieno, said the project, led by the NSW government in partnership with the non-profit Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia and Sydney's Canterbury-Bankstown Council, can help ease skilled staff shortages.



"It is huge," Mr Otieno said.

 

"Inspecting 100 kilometres using our normal process, it would have taken us two and a half hours. This system allows us to collect data at speed limit, so 100 kilometres would take an hour."

 

"It's pretty good because what the system it's based on is the IPWEA Road Inspection Manual which is a, I would say, universal state-wide way of collecting data.


Asset AI - Unsealed Road Defect Detection

The cameras will detect various types of road defects. IMAGE: Asset AI -Transport NSW

 

"There's somebody who's assigned that role driving through our network collecting defects data.

 

“As a small rural and remote Council with severe challenges in attracting qualified staff, the platform would lessen the effort required in road inspection, thus enabling our staff to be deployed elsewhere."


SOURCE: Transport for NSW

 

The data and images from vehicles pinpoint defects on a map, which Council can pull up, and prioritise them for maintenance based on a point system measuring severity and safety risk.

 

The data also provides an overall rating on the condition of a road network.


The equipment can be attached to any car and doesn't require the driver to have special training.



Mr Otieno said the shire began collecting data last month following discussion with the IPWEA in 2022.

 

He said Council is interested in attaching the technology to more of it's vehicles and taking up the project permanently after the four-week trial ends.


Warren joined the project alongside Shoalhaven City Council on the coast, with another 48 local councils expressing interest according to Transport for NSW.


Asset AI - Dash Mounted Camera

Dashmounted camera. IMAGE: Asset AI - Transport NSW

 

Transport for NSW Executive Director of Road Maintenance and Motorway Partnerships, Matthew Wilson said the technology can help pivot maintenance programs towards tackling issues before they arise.

 

“It’s great to see our Transport teams as early adopters using this new technology and its potential to enhance our current quality inspection capabilities and help shift contracted road maintenance programs towards preventative, and ideally predictive maintenance,” Mr Wilson said.