Honda Research in Ann Arbor to Develop Road Condition Monitor

Honda Research Institute USA Inc. in Ann Arbor, which conducts research to solve problems with direct applications to Honda, announced it is developing a road condition monitoring system that uses vehicle technology to evaluate road conditions to detect potential hazards.
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Honda Research Institute's pilot road condition monitoring system evaluates lane markings and visually classifies lane lines from "ideal" to "need repair."
The Honda Research Institute announced it is developing a road condition monitoring system for in-vehicle use. // Courtesy of Honda Research Institute

Honda Research Institute USA Inc. in Ann Arbor, which conducts research to solve problems with direct applications to Honda, announced it is developing a road condition monitoring system that uses vehicle technology to evaluate road conditions to detect potential hazards.

“Maintaining good road conditions helps keep everyone sharing the road safe,” says Paritosh Kelkar, project leader and scientist at Honda Research. “Real-time, high-accuracy roadway data captured from connected vehicles has the potential to improve the process of identifying, reporting, and more quickly repairing hazardous road conditions.”

It is conducting a pilot program in Ohio to evaluate a system that uses GPS coordinates and sensors to collect real-time road condition information that can be shared with road operators. It is collaborating with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and plans to begin sharing data collected from Honda vehicles in early 2022.

When monitoring lane marking conditions, the system visually classifies lane lines to the left and right of the vehicle using four color codes: green, yellow, grey, and red. Green and yellow classifications respectively indicate ideal to good lane marking conditions.

The system displays grey classifications when there are no lane lines and red if the lane markings need repair. That information is captured by the vehicle then streamed to a secure platform for analysis.

Information captured and shared includes longitude and latitude coordinates along with relevant images and video clips. This information is first anonymized before it is streamed to the secure platform.

Road operators can access this platform to identify the location, identify the type and severity of the road condition or hazard, and obtain a still image and video.

“We regularly inspect our roadways throughout Ohio and act quickly to address any issues, like faded or damaged pavement markings, that are identified,” says Jack Marchbanks, director of ODOT. “It’s a labor-intensive process. Good pavement markings are important to the drivers of today and the vehicles of tomorrow. We’re excited to work with Honda to improve the process.”

Honda Research plans to expand the systems capability to monitor other types of road conditions, and hopes it can eventually help meet the company’s stated goal of keeping all roads safer for everyone.

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