Road scanner gives eyes to autonomous vehicles

| Transport

Automatic road surface condition monitoring

Finnish technology company unveils road scanning system to reduce wear on roads by guiding autonomous vehicles round potholes.

As vehicle autonomy, platooning trucks and vehicle lane guidance systems become more of a reality and full autonomy is on the horizon, one company from Finland is providing an answer to the concern that such vehicles will have a detrimental effect on road surface quality.

Since cars will be programmed to follow the rules of the road and position themselves optimally in accordance with lane markings, some parts of the road surface will be subject to more wear than others. Also, without the ability to take corrective action to avoid potholes and other surface features, such defects will be made worse with constant vehicular impact.

According to Timo Saarenketo, the President and CEO of Finnish technology provider, Roadscanners, if cars don’t react to the presence of potholes, more and more of them will drive over them and worsen their condition.

“This is why cars should have sensors that automatically report the condition of the road to the highways agency and even other road users through the use of a road scanner,” he explained.

Saarenketo went on to say that autonomous cars will navigate the road as if they’re on rails, without corrective manoeuvres, which will lead to the road surfaces becoming tired and more prone to repairs.

The management of this needs to happen well in advance, he says, since some estimates predict that by 2025, half of the global vehicle fleet will be autonomous.

“The need for the automotive industry and highways agencies to cooperate in meeting this challenge is clear and new new technology can help. Roadscanners is able to make its contribution to the maintenance and care of road networks,” he said.

The core technology of Roadscanners is related to the digitalisation of traffic with Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) and autonomy.

“Digitalisation has been Roadscanner’s starting point for product development for the past 10 years. There is hardly anything new in the path to the digital model. What is unique is the fact that we can dive deeper and make a digital image of the road surface. Based on the sensor data from Roadscanners technology, proactive maintenance can be performed and significantly reduce overall costs,” Saarenketo concluded.

Jonathan Newell
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