Of the approximate total length of 1,220,000 km of roads in Japan, 84% consists of municipal roads managed by cities, towns and villages. Many of these roads were constructed during the high-growth period from the mid 1950s to the early 1970s, and age-related deterioration is now posing serious social problems. Many of these roads are left uninspected, however, due to a manpower shortage and efficiency concerns.
The Ricoh Road Surface Monitoring Service employs stereo cameras* to automatically obtain values for the three factors of crack rate, rutting depth and flatness. The stereo cameras simultaneously capture 3D images and a brightness image of the road surface. The crack rate is obtained by AI-assisted machine reading of the brightness images, while rutting depth and flatness can be calculated from the 3D images. As this enables thorough and efficient monitoring of road surface pavement conditions, it is expected that the system will help in assigning priorities to road repair works in an efficient and appropriate manner.
Moreover, the system uses general passenger vehicles as its platform, and thus can substantially reduce costs for instrument production and maintenance. It is expected that costs for inspection will decrease substantially, coupled with the reduction of expenses through automation of all processes, from the calculation of measurement results to the preparation of reports, which used to require a tremendous number of man-hours. The system also contributes to the expansion of inspection targets, as it can inspect narrow roads in residential areas, for which measurement was previously difficult with large-sized specialist vehicles.
By developing systems for monitoring social infrastructure, Ricoh facilitates the resolution of various social problems, including the presence of decrepit social infrastructure and the shortage of labor.