'Exciting' new tech aims to solve major gripe for Aussie drivers

·News Reporter
·3-min read

Nothing brings about more pain or annoyance on the daily commute than hitting a pothole in the street and turning a smooth journey into an uncomfortable nightmare.

But that experience could soon be a thing of the past.

The ACT government has partnered with an innovative start-up as they look to use ground-breaking technology to fix up potholes plaguing the streets of Canberra.

The local government plans to use cameras attached to garbage trucks to scan the city’s road and determine the best way to assess and fix the worst holes found across the city.

Screenshot showing truck recording footage. Source: Frontline Data Systems
The platform classifies problems on roads using a colour-coded system to identify different problems. Source: Frontline Data Systems

Solving Canberra's pothole problem

In their quest to improve Canberra’s roads, the ACT government have turned to Melbourne-based tech firm Frontline Data Systems to combat the pothole problem throughout the nation’s capital.

The basic premise of the new plan is to use dashcams installed in bin trucks, run by Suez Australia, and record footage of the roads as the trucks complete their normal routes.

Once the route is finished, the data is then run through a specially-designed app that can analyse the features of the road surface and determine where any cracks and potholes are situated and work out their depth, size and the severity of the problem at hand.

When the information is collated, the ACT Government can then rank the problems across the city and fix the issues based on the severity of each highlighted case.

It’s a remarkably simple approach to a mainstream problem which Frontline Data Systems Director of Operations Jonathon Stapels said used everyday resources to fix a major headache for drivers.

“For municipal roads, waste removal vehicles are ideal as they travel every street down both sides and transverse the network fortnightly,” Mr Stapels said.

“This provides the leverage to conduct a network-wide survey with unprecedented speed,” he added.

How the system works. Source: Frontline Data Systems
The fotoage is recorded from dashcams attached to garbage trucks. Source: Frontline Data Systems

Canberra’s bid for better infrastructure

The move to take a high-tech approach to fix such a common problem for motorists sees Canberra becoming one of the first cities in the country to try using these new methods.

With this pilot scheme running from October to December, it may just be the tip of the iceberg for state governments to embrace technology to improve their basic infrastructure.

A spokesperson for the ACT Government said “there is huge potential to utilise existing vehicles to pick up road defects in real-time so they can be fixed as soon as possible”.

“We look forward to exploring potential future applications following the pilot,” they added.

While the deal between the ACT government and Frontline Data Systems may not seem like huge move, it could be a ground-breaking program that may sweep across other Australian cities and even spread overseas.

It’s a development that has Mr Stapels excited to see how things progress in the future and how their technology could be adapted to different situations.

Screenshot dashcam footage. Source: Frontline Data Systems
The footage is recorded from dashcams attached to the vehicle. Source: Frontline Data Systems

“Our intention is to take this technology global and we are currently in discussion with infrastructure departments in five countries,” Mr Stapels revealed.

“We would be open to engagement with more,” he added.

With the potential for this technology to go global, it seems that the ACT government may have struck gold when it comes to helping rid the pothole problem from roads not just in Australia but potentially across the entire world.

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