On the smooth road to innovation: City of Richmond Hill collaborates with Visual Defence- YR Innovation Portal

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On the smooth road to innovation: City of Richmond Hill collaborates with Visual Defence

City of Richmond Hill

November 21, 2019

Veteran Richmond Hill-based technology company Visual Defence  Inc. (VDI), has teamed up with the City of Richmond Hill on a revolutionary approach to addressing the seemingly ever-present issue of potholes. The collaborative pilot project is initiated by VDI and the City of Richmond Hill with support from the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) program and the Ontario Good Roads Association.

Canadian winters are notoriously tough on people, but few realize the impact that they have on our roadways. Fluctuating temperatures create a cycle in which snow melts, pools on asphalt and freezes. The constant contraction and expansion results in the inconvenient and often dangerous phenomenon known as potholes – an annoyance that drivers are all too familiar with. Municipalities are always looking for innovative technologies to tackle issues such as this.

“With our current system, two patroller vehicles, each with a city Road Operator worker, drive through the city on weekdays monitoring road conditions. Upon discovering a pothole, the staff member enters their findings into a work dispatch software application that organizes the information and generates work orders,” City of Richmond Hill Roads Operations Manager, Bob Levesque says. “Though this does cut down on some administrative work, an individual is still responsible for driving a route specifically for visual inspection after which they are tasked with manually entering their findings in order to generate a report.”

Visual Defence Inc., has teamed with the City of Richmond Hill to develop a solution. “We are proud to announce ROVER, a technology that takes advantage of the exciting branch of artificial intelligence known as machine learning,” states Roy Tal, Visual Defence’s CTO. “It is a tiered system that analyzes video captured by smartphone cameras installed on municipal service vehicles in order to detect and classify potholes on the roadways.” ROVER automates the detection, classification and reporting process.

“We are excited about ROVER and its possibilities,” says Richmond Hill Mayor, Dave Barrow. “By helping VDI refine their technology, Richmond Hill gains access to this technology and we benefit from the improved ability to identify street maintenance issues such as potholes. This is an excellent example of innovation and partnership making us more efficient.”

Read the full article at The Ontario Good Roads Association.

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