New Sensor Technology Will Repair Roads Faster, Help With Self-Driving Cars

Interstate 10 West Sign

The Texas Transportation Institute and the Texas Department of Transportation are taking an innovative step which will lead to highways being repaired faster, and, eventually, lay the groundwork for self driving vehicles, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

The TxDOT trucks which are a common sight along highways will be equipped with mobile sensors.  Paul Carlson with the TTI, which is a unit of Texas A&M, says the sensors will scan the road surface, and at the end of the day will upload all of the information about road quality and defects into a database.

"This is the first and still only implementation of something like this in the United States," he said.  "And I wouldn't be surprised if it is the first of its kind, period."

Carlson says the vehicle sensors will be more adept at discovering defects in the road surface that need repair than human inspectors are today.  He says it will also lead to lower costs, because road problems can be corrected early, before they lead to major defects which cost more to fix.

"We process the data in the cloud and push it back to a web viewer that TxDOT can look at," he said.  "They can quickly see the assets that are in need of repair."

And Carlson says this will also lay the groundwork for autonomous vehicles, because the sensors which will be used for the road check will help provide the guidance for self driving vehicles.

The TTI has already designated Fredericksburg Road between downtown and the Medical Center as a test road for autonomous vehicles.

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