Vaisala’s new tools improve year-round road maintenance efficiency

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Finnish developer of weather, environmental, and industrial measurement systems, Vaisala has enhanced the capabilities of its RoadAI and Mobile Detector MD30 tools to provide summer and winter road surface data collection along the entire highway network.

Together, the two mobile products deliver a powerful and enhanced year-round understanding of road surface state that supplements the information from traditional stationary road weather information systems (RWIS) and modelling. The new mobile systems use novel sensors for data capture and analysis, including video and images to report the current state of road networks in both summer and winter. The systems provide information for pavement repairs, road state conditions, traffic sign management, and help to optimize highway maintenance operations all year-round.

MD30 is a novel mobile road condition sensor that transforms any fleet vehicle, from patrol cars to snow plows, into real-time, mobile road condition data collection points even in the most demanding conditions. When coupled with RoadAI, the combination provides year-round, up-to-date road data that is easily accessible over any computer or smartphone and can be accessed by a wide variety of users, including road authorities and municipal agencies. The data captured from RoadAI and MD30 are also valuable for any connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) developers and technology providers.

The system provides robust intelligence in:

  • Summer road pavement condition analysis – RoadAI captures problem areas through video and images to provide decision-makers with the data to prioritize limited resources, effect repairs more efficiently, and save money. The platform is up to four times faster and half the price of traditional pavement condition analysis;
  • Winter road maintenance – Crews can keep roads safe and passable by pairing RoadAI with Vaisala’s MD30 mobile sensor to monitor road surface state, changing temperatures, and grip in vehicles. Tested by more than 20 pilot customers last winter, MD30 works with any vehicle, and it is the first such device designed to work reliably in even the extremely harsh conditions of snow plows. MD30 captures and transmits air and road surface temperature/state and friction allowing managers to prioritize their salt, snow, and ice-fighting resources;
  • Year-Round traffic sign management – RoadAI can alert crews to downed or damaged signs or to those that are not properly visible. RoadAI also enables authorities to flag problematic signs and supports compliance with local regulations for nighttime visibility.

“RoadAI and MD30 strongly complement one another,” said Markus Melin, head of digital solutions for transportation at Vaisala. “In the summer, the RoadAI platform captures road video and images; reporting issues like pavement cracks and potholes through computer vision algorithms reliably. In addition, it can be used for traffic sign management. In the winter, MD30 can be connected to RoadAI’s rich video and image platform, allowing review in the office to verify captured road surface state data and enrich the readings with additional analytics.”

Melin added, “There is a need for this kind of comprehensive, year-round solution that not only collects the information but helps decision-makers prioritize issues and work as efficiently as possible along their entire road networks. As we continue to move toward higher levels of automation in vehicles, it’s clear these insights will also be extremely valuable to that nascent market.”

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About Author

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Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.

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