Automated Winter Road Surface Condition Monitoring System
Monitoring of winter road surface conditions during and after a snow storm is essential for most transportation agencies in Canada who are responsible for winter road maintenance. Information on road surface conditions can be used to assess the need for maintenance service, compare the effectiveness of different treatment methods, and evaluate the quality of the maintenance services delivered by contractors across different maintenance yards.
Real-time information on road surface conditions is also invaluable to the road users who can use the information to improve their travel and driving decisions such as where, when and in what mode to travel. Currently, monitoring of winter road surface conditions is mostly done through personal observations and manual recording, which is limited in repeatability, details and timeliness. While recent developments in sensor technologies such as continuous friction measurement equipment (CFME), web-based surveillance video, and spectroscopic snow and ice cover sensors have afforded new opportunities for quick and objective assessment of road surface conditions, they are costly for implementation and limited in spatial coverage and completeness. The proposed project is to further advance our new winter road condition monitoring solution featuring innovative applications of machine vision, artificial intelligence, and data fusion techniques on a platform of cloud-based wireless and Internet technologies.
The prototype solution includes a fully automated data collection unit consisting of a GPS, a camera, an IR thermometer, and interfaces to other sensors such as plowing/salting status. The data are processed onboard and then transmit to a central server where data from a large number of participating vehicles is processed to generate road surface condition information that is of high spatial, temporal and lateral coverage. The availability of such complete information has the potential to profoundly change the winter maintenance practice and will benefit all Canadians with improved mobility, road safety, and environmental protection.