New approaches for continuous monitoring of pavemnent conditions
Current and precise data on the usability of roads is essential for planning and prioritizing maintenance measures.
For this reason, many road authorities regularly have the condition of their roads recorded by qualified providers. For classified roads and main municipal roads, the condition assessment procedure (ZEB) introduced by the federal government in the early 1990s is usually used. Due to the comparatively high costs and the effort involved in evaluating and assessing the data, the ZEB is usually only carried out every four years.
This often leads to the problem that road damage occurring between ZEB campaigns sometimes remains undetected for several years.
For the management of the maintenance of the roads and the communication with politics and road users, a closer-meshed recording of the pavement condition is of great importance. However, this is often not feasible due to scarce human and financial resources.
In the summer of 2020, HELLER became aware of the Swedish company NIRA Dynamics AB. NIRA is an established supplier to the automotive industry and a pioneer in the field of sensor fusion. In this process, the signals from sensors present in the vehicle are combined in such a way that new information is created. Innovative software from NIRA installed in production vehicles enables continuous assessment of road conditions. NIRA has its own cloud to which the sensor data is transferred and evaluated in anonymized form. The number of vehicles recording road conditions was already in the 6-digit range at the end of last year, and the million mark is expected to be exceeded by the end of this year. This will make it possible for the first time to set up a monitoring system for entire road networks. The projects already implemented in other European countries show that the frequency of the incoming data enables continuous monitoring and route- and network-related trend analyses. With the rapidly growing vehicle fleet, this will also lead to a reliable data supply with a high network coverage in Germany before the end of this year.
HELLER and NIRA aim to revolutionize operation and maintenance by bringing together existing information.
To this end, the OnKo3 system developed by HELLER, which is now used by nearly 4,500 users in various European road authorities, will be connected to the NIRA cloud. This gives the user direct access to current data on the trafficability of roads. Likewise, an analysis of the development over time becomes possible. Critical developments can thus be identified in good time. The new information is thus not only suitable for planning maintenance measures, but also for planning operational maintenance.
At the turn of the year, joint discussions were held with selected road authorities and the feedback was very positive. The first applications are already planned for the 1st quarter of 2021.