Socio-Economic Impact

– Safer and more resilient roads and highways (Road Infrastructure/Transport Infrastuctures in general), and consequently better conditions for the users: the provision of automated systems able to perform inspection of roads/highways with increased accuracy, detail, efficiency, objectivity, repeatability and data management capabilities will aid maintenance planning of the inspection personnel with the aid of adapted strategies based on the current conditions and highway needs. This is expected to highly contribute to a safer transport network for the users, particularly the wide public, commuters.

– Reduction of need for highly trained personnel: the suggested system requires less personnel assigned to the inspection/maintenance task itself reducing thus the operational costs of the roads’/highways’ owners/operators as well as the inspection/maintenance companies. Furthermore, the solution is expected to reduce hourly labor in the transport environment that is really risky and very costly when having also in mind the transportation of relevant personnel to/from the point of interest.

– Safer working environment for inspection/maintenance/first-response teams, which are most of the times required to execute their tasks in the harsh environments of roads/highways always experiencing and facing inconvenient and not safe conditions such as passing vehicles, noise, dust and extreme temperatures (inspection/maintenance teams) and even worse conditions (smoke, chemicals, risk of collapse, etc.) when referring to first response units. This is expected to greatly improve by the usage of “expert/smart” systems -such as PANOPTIS one- from Road Infrastructure/Transport Infrastucture industry.

– Inspection and maintenance costs reduction through regular, structured and planned inspections: This is expected to be achieved through the introduction of more often, but still less expensive inspections. Currently, there is a precise planning of regular inspections of highways; however, sometimes these are limited due to operational costs of the inspections, often to the limit that can be afforded. The proposed system will allow more frequent inspections, whereas the whole Road Infrastructure, e.g., tunnel lining, pavement, will be inspected and not just some spots under a sampling procedure. This will lead to improved maintenance schedule, targeting to the forecast of future damages and the on-time intervention (predictive maintenance). This can greatly reduce infrastructure maintenance costs.

– Reduce road/highway down-time for inspections: the inspection of roads and in particularly of large highways usually requires partial or total shutdown of a sector and the traffic is usually diverted to local roads around the previous toll stops. This is not an easy task for the highway operators and requires the availability of actual road diversions for the drivers, which is not always the case. The development of an industrial grade robotic system and its exhaustive testing into actual working/environment conditions will ensure the operation of the system without stopping the highway traffic.

– Reduction of vehicle operating costs, through structured inspection of the pavement and will in-turn result in decreased fuel consumption, tire repair costs, vehicle maintenance and depreciation.

– Travel time Savings: as related to the journey times, concluding that timely maintenance of the Road Infrastructure is the most widely recognized economic benefit of roads maintenance.

– The establishment of this roadway pavement management system will enable highway operators to evaluate the condition of county roads using an automated, incorporate and track historical pavement information into pavement management software, develop annual roadway programs and budget projections based on the optimization of critical need projects, available maintenance treatments, resurfacing, and funding, document each future year’s annual roadway program in the pavement management software, gain understanding on the costbenefit ratio of different types of pavement treatments, rehabilitation, and replacement; and link aspects of the pavement management system to the country GIS system for use by country staff.

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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No  769129