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Pothole days are numbered

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Just as technology he will present at Univation may one day let trucks feed data on poor roads back to maintenance managers, Curtin Professor of Mining Engineering Roger Thompson hopes feedback from the event will ease the invention’s transition to market.

Professor Thompson says systems like the Real-time Haul Road Condition Monitoring one he will showcase next week at Univation will one day be integral to mine maintenance and centralised fleet control.

Professor Roger Thompson will present at Univation.

He says there are no real-time systems on the market which feed what a truck is “feeling” on mine site roads through to maintenance managers.

However, a prototype has been developed that integrates accelerometer and sensing technologies with vehicle control and suspension to detect anomalies in road surfaces to a sensitivity of 50mm.

“Why not let the truck tell us what’s wrong with the road as it drives along?” Professor Thompson posed.

“It’s closing the link in road maintenance between what the vehicle feels and what needs to be done to fix the road.”

Professor Thompson said that some companies were interested in harnessing the technology for specific applications.

But further work was needed to broaden its applicability to a range of road and vehicle types.

This included the possibility of adapting the tool to instantly reporting potholes on public roads.

He said that events like Univation would help in this process of product development.

“One of the aims is to better communicate what’s happening at the University to industry,” Professor Thompson said.

He said that university innovators could also benefit from industry feedback on what applications of technology were important to the business community.

“That will help us understand where the real market value lies, to get a better idea of where we’re adding value as opposed to just solving a (theoretical) problem,” he said.

“It’s really about alignment of the research with corporate goals.

“I think Univation is an opportunity to deliver some more information to a slightly higher level person in an organisation so they can learn what’s being developed or researched in their area.”

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  1. Nick Leigh says:

    As trucks and HGVs cause the majority of road wear, why not get them to automatically report it?

    Brilliant concept, great work – hope it gets fully commercialised for public roads soon.

  2. Scott Morgan says:

    I think that’s a great idea.

    I completely agree that there also needs to be a greater alignment of research with corporate goals.

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