Victoria trials AI, drone tech for road maintenance

The trial of the AI software “EaglEye” (recently acquired by Australian software company Asset Vision) is now underway in Victoria’s north east.

Drone-mounted high-resolution cameras, sensors and artificial intelligence (AI) software are part of what the Victorian Government is calling a “regional road maintenance blitz” to renovate its transport network.

The trial of the AI software “EaglEye” (recently acquired by Australian software company Asset Vision) is now underway in the state’s north east, helping to map and assess the condition of more than 4,000 kilometres of arterial roads and roadside assets.

The software has used footage captured by vehicle-mounted cameras to automatically detect, categorise, and assess the condition of more than 160,000 individual road assets, including signs, line marking, trees, and safety barriers, as well as the road surface itself.

This allows the crews in charge of managing these assets to better understand the network’s current state and allocate funding and resources where they are needed most.

Using this groundbreaking software will map the thousands of kilometres of road sections in a matter of weeks – a fraction of time compared to traditional methods that would take around three years to collect and assess.

Capturing assets and road defects with cameras also means inspectors no longer need to leave their vehicles. Instead, they can travel at the speed of the traffic, making significant improvements in safety and effective use of time.

Meanwhile, in the state’s west, crews are taking to the skies to take a closer look at vital pieces of road infrastructure.

Road maintenance experts can use high-resolution cameras mounted on small drones to capture footage from hard-to-reach or dangerous locations, including underneath bridges and sound walls on busy freeways and storm barriers.

The high-definition images captured by the drones depict even the most minute details, such as hairline cracks, and remove the need for staff to use boats or work at heights to carry out these inspections.

The drones have also been used in recent emergencies, giving engineers a birds-eye view of the damage caused by storms and bushfires, assisting with planning for clean-up and repair works.

Victoria’s Minister for Roads and Road Safety Ben Carroll said the technology is aimed at improving efficiency in road repairs.

“We’re embracing the latest technology to ensure we deliver road maintenance and repairs where they’re needed most,” the Minister said.

“This technology is allowing us to work more efficiently and safely – it removes the need for workers to be out on the roads putting themselves in potentially risky situations.”

The regional maintenance blitz is currently delivering more than 1,000 individual projects across Victoria’s regional network, rebuilding, repairing, and resurfacing more than 1,400 kilometres of some of our busiest roads.

Department of Transport (DoT) Victoria has been recognised this year as a finalist in Gartner’s Eye on Innovation Awards for Government 2021 for its use of Asset Vision’s recently acquired “EaglEye” technology (AI-powered Asset and Pavement Defect detection). The award category recognises government initiatives that make innovative use of data and emerging technologies to tangibly advance their progress toward digital government.

An overview of DoT Victoria’s submission can be viewed via this link:

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