University of Cincinnati, partners demonstrate car that can evaluate roads

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The University of Cincinnati (UC), along with its partners the Ohio Department of Transportation, Honda Motor Co., infrastructure engineering firm Parsons Corp., and consulting firm i-Probe will demonstrate that new cars can evaluate roads.

Vehicles are equipped with cameras and sensors designed to improve safe driving. Munir Nazzal, UC College of Engineering and Applied Science professor of civil engineering, says these tools can serve a dual purpose.

The technology could be used to detect if a stop sign is missing or obscured by overgrown foliage, he said, and could relay this information in real time to state transportation officials to identify, prioritize and resolve problems more quickly.

The technology also could be used to identify roads with low or no shoulders.

Nazzal’s lab will use two Hondas to demonstrate the valuable infrastructure data vehicles can collect while traveling.

The two-year project also will helps prepare roads for self-driving cars by identifying needed improvements.

“The focus is on the condition of the road, but it applies to other important things from signs to guardrails to barriers to pavement markings,” Nazzal said. “Safety is the priority. If we can reduce the number of accidents, we can save lives.”

Potholes cost American drivers $26 billion in car repairs annually, according to AAA.