All autonomous cars could operate as active Roadscanners.
In the future, there will be more and more autonomous vehicles on the road, which drive in accordance with programmed rules.
– It may mean that the autonomous car will not react, for example, to a big pothole, but will just drive over it. With more and more cars doing that, there will soon be a larger pothole, which can become a source of danger. Road conditions will, therefore, become subject to different problems with the growing number of autonomous cars. That is why these new cars need to have sensors that automatically report the condition of the road to the road authorities, and also to other autonomous cars. All autonomous cars could operate as active Roadscanners, envisions President and CEO of Roadscanners Oy, Timo Saarenketo.
No problems, only opportunities
Saarenketo points out that autonomous cars drive on the road as if on rails, without wander in the sidewards. This will lead to a situation where the road surfaces will suffer increasing fatique and wear, and the need for repaving roads will escalate accordingly.
– If we can manage road repairs more intelligently, then we are way ahead in our preparation for the future, Saarenketo explained. Saarenketo estimates that the share of autonomous cars in 2025 could be close to half of the total global fleet of cars.
– The automotive industry and road administrators need to cooperate in order to turn the challenges into opportunities with the help of new technology. At Roadscanners, we – as a dynamic developer of road network monitoring and maintenance products - are ready to make our contribution to this state-of-the-art vision of the future.
Roadscanners dives beneath the surface
What is happening in the field of traffic digitalization, i.e. the field of intelligent transport and autonomous cars, directly overlaps with Roadscanners’ core competence.
– Digitalization has been the starting point of Roadscanners’ product development for the past ten years. The basic story is that we can now make a digital model of the road – but this is hardly anything new. What is cutting-edge is the fact that we can visually dive below the surface and make a digital image from underneath the road, in order to see what condition the road structures are in, Saarenketo added, as he outlined the new technology. If the structural condition of the road is poor, the functional condition is also automatically reduced, and this is economically very important.
Proactive maintenance conducted on the basis of sensor data can significantly save on the annual costs of paving. But in addition to serving the interests of road owners and contractors, the sensor technology and the other Roadscanners products can enhance driving safety and comfort for motorists and aid car manufacturers in offering a safer, more comfortable vehicle. However, because the sensors of different car producers will differ from one another, it will be necessary to calibrate all the information conveyed by them at regular intervals.
– And at Roadscanners, we have a functional solution for that as well, Saarenketo declares.
TEXT: Mia Heiskanen