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AI sensors aimed at prioritising road maintenance being trialled

The NSW Government is funding Asset AI as part of a $2.9 million trial that will see sensors installed on public buses to track and prioritise road repairs, including identifying potholes before they form.

The project, being led by Transport for NSW and the Roads and Transport Directorate, will involve 32 sensors installed on 32 public transport buses across the Greater Sydney area.

According to a media release issued by the NSW Government, the new technology can be combined with local weather observations to predict the rate of deterioration and streamline how road asset maintenance is prioritised.

“The people of NSW have embraced digital services through products like the ServiceNSW app, Dine and Discover vouchers, Fuel Check and Park’nPay and expect modern service delivery,” said Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government Victor Dominello.

“There will always be cracks in the road and there will always be potholes but with smart tech like this we can predict deterioration, streamline maintenance and get to better outcomes much faster.”

Minister for Metropolitan Roads Natalie Ward added, “It’s a brilliant use of resources already on our roads. Mounting cameras and sensors onto vehicles with regular routes, like garbage trucks and public transport buses, ensures road defects are captured incidentally, including those un-reported by residents,” Ward said.

“This AI technology assesses the captured footage and logs any road defects detected into a database in near-real time, meaning it will find potholes and cracks in the road before they find you.”

Road data is also being collected outside of the city with a ute mounted with cameras scanning 100 kilometres of rural roads, across regional NSW.

“We will have it out collecting data along the Great Western Highway between Lithgow and Bathurst, the Sturt Highway near Wagga Wagga and around Spring Ridge in the Upper Hunter,” explained Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway.

A pre-trial of the technology was undertaken with Canterbury-Bankstown Council last year. Canterbury Bankstown Mayor Khal Asfour expects Asset AI to save councils and ratepayers money and improve road safety.

“We do an audit of our roads once every four years and it is very expensive. This new technology will allow us to do it on a weekly basis instead,” Asfour said.

“Asset AI uses predictive analysis to improve road maintenance by predicting the risk to the community rather than just reporting the condition of the road assets, and that’s great news for our residents.”

Further testing is being rolled out across regional and metropolitan regions including Georges River, Blayney, Central Coast, Liverpool, Wingecarribee, Sutherland, Warren Shire, Liverpool Plains, Griffith, Tamworth, Wollongong, and Murray River Councils in September.

The Asset AI project is funded by the NSW Digital Restart Fund and is expected to be available to all NSW Local Government areas in late 2023.

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