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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R005400/1
Title: Pothole Identification and Management Autonomous System
Principal Investigator: Aouf, Professor N
Other Investigators:
Kechagias-Stamatis, Dr O
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Cranfield Defence and Security
Organisation: Cranfield University
Scheme: Technology Programme
Starts: 29 March 2017 Ends: 28 June 2018 Value (£): 150,944
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Artificial Intelligence Image & Vision Computing
Robotics & Autonomy
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Transport Systems and Vehicles
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form

A 2016 survey for KwikFit by ICM Research estimated the annual total cost of pothole damage to UK motorists was £684m. Research by the Asphalt Industries Alliance (ALARM 2016) identified that the total cost of compensation claims against local authorities in England and Wales for 2015/2016 was £28.4m - 76% of which was directly attributable to potholes.

Whilst local authorities have a legal responsibility for dealing with damage to roads, they are heavily dependent on issues being reported to them by the general public to enable assessment and repair. The reactive nature of pothole reporting, assessment and repair is inefficient and largely ineffective.

Aims and Objectives:

The aim of the project is to develop technology improving the way local authorities identify and manage potholes, and is designed to enable them to improve roads and reduce costs. The key objectives are:

1. To develop affordable sensor technology to enable a vehicle mounted sensor travelling at speeds of up to 65Km/hr to identify and capture road damage between road kerb and centre line.

2. To classify the road damage for reporting purposes.

3. To provide an image of the damage.

4. To provide an accurate location of the road damage.

5. To create a "learning database" of typical damage parameters.

6. To report the road damage on a store-and-forward or real-time basis.

7. To capture and store data on a cloud based service.

8. To map data so that it is easily understood.

9. To provide web-based access to map based products.

The project will initially focus on delivering a prototype for identifying, classifying, reporting and sharing information on potholes. Real-time applications will be developed following successful demonstration on the initial capability.

Applications and benefits:

The project will provide vehicle mounted sensors which can identify and classify potholes and other road damage, provide an accurate position for the damage to the road, report the occurrence by forwaing to cloud storage and enable the data to be accessed through a web browser showing the data on a map.

We believe the most effective mechanism to deliver comprehensive mapping of local authority roads will be by mounting the sensors on refuge and recycling waste collection vehicles. This could be supplemented by standalone survey vehicles. Combining data from local authorities would provide comprehensive mapping of a region and potentially the UK.

Benefits include:

1. The creation of a detailed web-based mapping source of potholes in roads for highways agencies, local authorities and private subscribers. The data would include classification of damage, imaging and accurate positioning. This would enable highways authorities and local authorities to make informed decisions on the prioritisation of road repairs and provide private subscribers with a tool to avoid road damage to private vehicles.

2. Real-time data capture and reporting of ground disturbances for military users in operational environments with a risk of improvised explosive device (IED) attack; enabling potential threats to be mitigated.

3. Real-time data capture and reporting of natural and man-made hazards for unmanned precision farming vehicles; enabling avoidance action to be taken before impact.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.cranfield.ac.uk