Honda is testing a road monitoring system to detect faint lane markings

Staying on your lane is a lot easier when you know how much of a road you have to use. Unfortunately, America’s decades-old love affair with performing the absolute minimum maintenance of basic infrastructure has left many of the country’s many stretches of highway lanes dull, damaged, and dark. A new pilot program from the USA’s Honda Research Institute could one day help local highway and traffic departments closely monitor the condition of the roads in their care, using the cars they drive.

Honda’s Road Condition Monitoring System takes advantage of the cameras and GPS navigation systems already in many of today’s vehicles to monitor road conditions in real time and detect potential hazards. The onboard system will rate each extension of the taxiway sign in green, yellow, gray and red. Green and yellow indicate perfect or high-quality lane markings, red indicates signs that need repair, and gray indicates no signs at all (such as on city streets or country roads).

The system captures road conditions using vehicle cameras and other sensors, coordinates this with the onboard GPS to provide precise locations for any hazards or damages, and then uploads that data to a secure server. Once the data is in the cloud, local highway and transportation departments will be able to access it through a web portal to see which stretches of road need urgent repair or repainting.

“We regularly check our roads across Ohio and act quickly to address any issues identified, such as faded or damaged pavement markings. It is a labor-intensive process. Good pavement markings are important,” Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jack Marsh Banks said in a statement Monday. For today’s drivers and tomorrow’s cars “We’re excited to work with Honda to improve the process.”

Honda is working with the Ohio Department of Transportation for its upcoming pilot program, which is scheduled to begin early next year. During that study, it’s clear that only select Honda vehicles will log the data, “to help enhance the efficiency of Ohio’s road maintenance operation,” according to a press release issued Monday. The research institute is looking to eventually connect entire fleets of Honda and Acura vehicles, allowing them to share data over V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle) networks and provide real-time updates to their ADA systems.

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