Connected cars could tell Highways England about motorway potholes

Connected car technology could one day be used to automatically report sections of motorway that need repair.

In a vision of the future set out by Highways England, the roads agency said that an intelligent network coupled with connected vehicles would improve how efficiently the roads are maintained and, at the same time, improve safety.

The Strategic Road Network Initial Report explains: “Connected vehicles could report potholes, uploading data on the location and severity of the pothole, which is then shared with the local maintainers and even other connected vehicles, to help them avoid it.”

Connected vehicles are also expected to improve traffic flow by receiving information about incidents from the network, informing the driver’s satnav system. At the same time, the vehicle could inform the network about its own presence, feeding into traffic monitoring.

Highways England is also looking at how sensors could help ensure the nation’s transport infrastructure is well maintained.

The report says: “We are developing asset-monitoring technologies using sensors embedded within individual Highways England structures and assets to provide ongoing condition information for the life of the asset. With the current level of technology, this can now be done with a live feed from each site giving dynamic data about each structure.

“This could highlight and prevent major issues occurring from things such as major weather events or other severe incidents. Sensors could detect concrete degradation, or monitor vibrations during nearby demolition or construction works.”

The report will be used to inform the government’s next road investment strategy which is due to start in 2020.

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