Drones and AI assess arterial roads

November 27, 2021 BY

Sprayline’s Aaron Braeckmans tests a drone-mounted camera as Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison, Minister Ben Carroll and Member for Buninyong Michaela Settle watch on. Photo: EDWINA WILLIAMS

STATE-of-the-art road maintenance technology will be trialled by the State Government on Ballarat’s arterial roads for six months from summer.

Earlier in the week, Minister for Roads and Road Safety Ben Carroll launched the project, which will see local Sprayline Road Services workers operate Victorian EagleSoft machinery, including car bonnet-mounted artificial intelligence, and high-resolution drone-mounted cameras.

The tech is designed to locate, assess and categorise the condition of not only roads and their surfaces, but marked lines, signs, barriers and trees, without workers being put at risk in busy areas.

“We’re embracing the latest technology to ensure we deliver road maintenance and repairs where they’re needed most….and to work more efficiently and safely,” Mr Carroll said.

“The Ballarat region provides us with a really important opportunity to trial this technology, with the western freeway, key arterials, historical bridges and waterways.

“We want to leave no stone unturned and get all the data back. Where we’ve got a lot of works, we can stress-test the technology and make sure this $200,000 trial gives us everything we need to roll it out more broadly.”

Regional Roads Victoria Grampians Region director Michael Bailey said freeways, major roads, and link-roads will be a particular focus.

Its expected thousands of kilometres of road network, which would usually take years to assess, will be efficiently analysed within weeks.

“The EagleSoft software and drone technologies capture more than what we ever would in any given year in terms of data asset management…from the pavement to everything around it, from a bench seat, to a light bulb,” Mr Bailey said.

“The software has saved us about $2.5 million and three years of work…and we can paint a really accurate picture of what the entire network looks like. There are no job losses.”