Council invests in AI, improves road maintenance

Thursday, 06 February, 2020

Council invests in AI, improves road maintenance

England’s Blackpool Council claims it has saved over £1 million using artificial intelligence (AI) and satellite imaging to inspect road damage. 

AI was employed to traverse highway space satellite images, detecting potholes, cracks and general damage “in seconds” and signalling an operator to take action, according to the council. 

The technology forms part of the council’s Project Amber highways maintenance strategy and has “already been successfully piloted in Anchorsholme and Bispham”, the council said.

“Since summer [Australian winter] 2019, 5145 potholes have been filled in North Shore, which would have cost £1.5m using traditional methods,” the council said. 

Using these technologies, however, the repairs cost just under £450K, the council claimed, explaining that the savings could be allocated to “improving more roads”.

“Project Amber and the use of artificial intelligence is another forward-thinking and innovative approach that will deliver not only significant savings but will also benefit all road users,” said Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for Highways, Councillor Fred Jackson.

“We hope that Project Amber will act as a showcase of what can be achieved by local authorities working in partnership with the supply chain to achieve lower whole-life costs in highway maintenance through the use of surface treatments,” added Steve Barry, Head of Highways Maintenance for the Department for Transport.

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