DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Honda is piloting a new road condition management system in Ohio.

DriveOhio and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) are investing $700,000 in the program, for data analysis and evaluation. In it, a test vehicle collects road data in real time.

In partnership with University of Cincinnati, Parsons Corporation, and i-Probe Inc., the prototype vehicle aims at making roadways safer by helping maintenance crews address damage quickly.

The system uses vehicle-generated data to identify and report hazardous road conditions.

Through early identification of roadway issues like potholes or damaged guardrail, ODOT’s maintenance crews may be able to respond faster and make repairs before conditions worsen.

In the future, the vehicle-generated data could instantly link inspectors to near real-time information, potentially reducing the need for time-consuming visual inspections.

”As transportation evolves and modern vehicles become more advanced, ODOT is excited to investigate new ways to apply technology and maximize efficiency for our crews,” said Preeti Choudhary, DriveOhio executive director. “Integrating vehicle data into our operations has the potential to be a game-changer when it comes to better serving Ohio drivers and increasing roadway safety for all.”

Increased efficiencies and potential cost savings for the state of Ohio are key aspects of the program, but the project could also help make roads safer while reducing the cost to consumers associated with vehicle damage due to road hazards.

The project will focus on the following roadway conditions:

  • Roadway striping deficiencies that affect some driver assistance features, such as lane-keeping assist functions
  • Pothole development, including size and location
  • Ride quality of the road, regardless of the vehicle’s age or condition
  • Guardrail and cable road barrier damage
  • Road sign wear, including missing signs
  • Condition of berms, including the percentage and depth of drop off

The initiative will build on a pilot program conducted by the Honda Research Institute in 2022. That program evaluated a road condition management system using GPS coordinates and cameras to collect real-time road condition information.

Honda and the partner companies will provide the roadway condition data to ODOT through a web dashboard. ODOT will use the data to cross-reference its regular visual inspections. The results of the analysis will be used to enhance the machine learning algorithm Honda uses to generate the web-based dashboards.

“We are very excited to be part of this effort to help ODOT in achieving its mission of providing a transportation infrastructure that is safe, accessible, well maintained, and positioned for the future,” said Munir Nazzal, director of UC’s Center for Smart, Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure (CSSRI). “Over the past years, we have been developing edge AI algorithms for real-time detection of infrastructure assets deficiencies. In this project, we will be testing and validating some of these algorithms as well as assisting in integrating them into the Honda vehicles.”

After the project, ODOT will evaluate the possibilities and value-add for long-term use of such data for maintenance as well as for other ODOT operations.