The news

Starting June 1st, Utah DOT is piloting an AI tool for tracking road maintenance issues.

The solution, called Payver, is made by Utah-based company Blyncsy. It crowd-sources HD videos and images from a variety of sources, for instance dash cams. Then it processes the data using computer vision to identify road maintenance issues automatically. Next, it makes this information viewable in a dashboard, where it can also be integrated with maintenance software that automatically determines the priority of maintenance tasks.

At first, the pilot will focus on monitoring paint lines within Salt Lake County. In the future, Utah DOT may take on potholes, construction barrels, and a variety of other maintenance issues.

Why it matters

DOTs have a lot of trouble staying on top of road issues. For one, traditional mapping methods like lidar scanning are still prohibitively expensive. This is why the Utah DOT can laser scan its roads only once every two years.

As a result, DOTs often rely on citizen reporting—which presents its own issues. The public is often slow to call in problems, and likely to make complaints based on opinion rather than measurable data. In addition, poorer neighborhoods are less likely to call in reports, and more likely to suffer negative economic effects due to road maintenance issues such as potholes.

Payver offers cost-conscious agencies a method that avoids the pitfalls of both traditional mapping and crowd reporting. TechCrunch reports that the Utah DOT’s pilot is budgeted at only $90,000.

For more information, see the TechCrunch coverage here.