HERON aims to develop an integrated automated system to perform maintenance and upgrading roadworks, such as sealing cracks, patching potholes, asphalt rejuvenation, autonomous replacement of CUD elements and painting markings, but also supporting the pre/post-intervention phase including visual inspections and dispensing and removing traffic cones in an automated and controlled manner.
HERON aims to reduce fatal accidents, maintenance costs, traffic disruptions, thus increasing the network capacity and efficiency.
The HERON system consists of:
- autonomous ground robotic vehicle that will be supported by autonomous drones to coordinate maintenance works and the pre-/post- intervention phase;
- various robotic equipment, including sensors and actuators (e.g., tools for cut and fill, surface material placement and compaction, modular components installation, laser scanners for 3D mapping) placed on the main vehicle;
- sensing interface installed both to the robotic platform and to the Road Infrastructures (RI) to allow improved monitoring (situational awareness) of the structural, functional and RI’s and markings’ conditions;
- the control software that interconnects the sensing interface with the actuating robotic equipment;
- Augmented Reality (AR) visualization tools that enable the robotic system to see in detail surface defects and markings under survey;
- Artificial Intelligence/AI-based toolkits that will act as the middleware of a twofold role for: a) optimally coordinating the road maintenance/upgrading workflows and b) intelligent processing of distributed data coming from the vehicle and the infrastructure sensors for safe operations and not disruption of other routine operations or traffic flows;
- integrate all data in an enhanced visualisation user interface supporting decisions; and
- communication modules to allow for Vehicle-to-Infrastructure/-Everything (V2I/X) data exchange for predictive maintenance and increase users safety.