Honda Research Institute USA is developing a road condition monitoring system that uses vehicle technology to evaluate road conditions in an effort to detect possible hazards.

With this vehicle-generated road condition reporting system, Honda hopes to help road operators monitor lane marking conditions in a more frequent, efficient and cost-effective way that helps fulfill the automaker’s concept of “Safety for Everyone.”

The institute is conducting a pilot programme in Ohio to evaluate a system that uses GPS coordinates and sensors such as cameras to collect real time road condition information that can be shared with road operators.

Honda is collaborating with the Ohio Department of Transportation and plans to start providing road condition data in early 2022, from vehicles used as part of the pilot programme, to help enhance the efficiency of the road maintenance operation in Ohio.

The institute also is exploring how connected vehicles can access the anonymised data to adjust Honda and Acura Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) perception settings, and if needed, warn drivers if lane markings are faded or are in need of repair.

“Maintaining good road conditions helps keep everyone sharing the road safe,” said Paritosh Kelkar, scientist at Honda Research Institute USA and project leader of the road condition monitoring system. “Real time, high accuracy roadway data captured from connected vehicles has the potential to improve the process of identifying, reporting, and more quickly repairing hazardous road conditions.”

Lane marking classification

When monitoring lane marking conditions, the system visually classifies lane lines to the left and right of the vehicle using four color codes: green, yellow, grey and red. Green and yellow classifications respectively indicate ideal to good lane marking conditions. The system displays grey classifications when there are no lane lines and red if the lane markings need repair.

That road condition information, including longitude and latitude coordinates along with relevant images and video clips, is captured by the vehicle, anonymised, and then streamed to a secure platform for analysis. Road operators can access this platform to identify the location, type and severity of the road condition and hazard information, and obtain a still image and video.

“We regularly inspect our roadways throughout Ohio and act quickly to address any issues, like faded or damaged pavement markings, that are identified. It’s a labour intensive process. Good pavement markings are important to the drivers of today and the vehicles of tomorrow,” said Ohio Department of Transportation director Jack Marchbanks. “We’re excited to work with Honda to improve the process.”

In addition to lane markings, the institute plans to expand the system’s application to monitor other types of road conditions.