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— Automotive

Compact laser system scans road surfaces at 100 km/h

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques have come up with a car-mounted laser scanner the size of a shoe box, that can survey the contours of road surfaces at speeds of up to 100 km/h (62 mph). The system detects potholes and other road damage in need of repair. According to the Institute, the Pavement Profile Scanner (or PPS) has surveyed 15,000 km of road since mid-2012, in which time it has proven cheaper, faster and more accurate than existing systems which require hefty attachments to the carrier vehicle. Read More
— Environment

The streets of Vancouver are paved with ... recycled plastic

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit's latest Global Liveability Report, the beautiful city of Vancouver in Canada is a pretty decent place to live, ranking third in the world. Its environmental footprint is currently unsustainable, though, prompting officials to hatch an ambitious plan to have Vancouver crowned the greenest city in the world by 2020. Helping things along nicely is a new warm mix paving process that makes use of the kind of waste plastic placed in blue household recycling boxes by conscientious citizens, reducing greenhouse gases and improving air quality along the way. Read More
— Automotive

Automated system detects and fills cracks in asphalt roads

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but when it comes to road maintenance, an ounce of prevention is worth several tons of tarmac. A tiny crack in the asphalt may not seem like much, but once it lets in rain and frost, it’s a ticket to potholes and a very expensive resurfacing. The problem is that crack repair is time consuming and labor intensive, so the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) has come up with an automatic pavement crack detection and repair system that operates at comparable speeds to conventional methods, but with fewer people and less exposure to hazardous fumes. Read More
— Mobile Technology

iPavement embeds WiFi hotspots in the street

It seems that a lot of people have been talking about putting things in the road lately. Just within the past few years, we’ve heard about asphalt-embedded parking spot locators, power strips and coils, piezoelectric generators, and heat-harvesting water pipes. Now, a Spanish tech company has developed yet another piece of “street technology,” known as iPavement – sidewalk paving stones that double as WiFi hotspots. Read More
— Good Thinking

Students design goop-filled bags to fill potholes

Have you ever mixed corn starch with water? If you have, you probably noticed how it oozed like a liquid when flowing across a surface, yet hardened like a solid if you suddenly struck it. That’s because the corn starch/water mixture is what’s known as a non-Newtonian fluid – the particles it’s composed of slide past one another easily when moving slowly, but jam against each other when forced to move quickly. Recently, a group of students from Cleveland’s Case Western University encased such a fluid within sturdy bags, to create a simple product that could be used to temporarily fill potholes in roads. Read More
— Urban Transport

Python 5000 patches potholes in minutes

Nobody likes potholes, but it often seems that they’re one of those hardships we just have to put up with until they get almost impassable ... after all, it’s a big deal to send out a road crew who will have to block one or two lanes of traffic for half an hour or more, while they risk being struck by inattentive drivers. Apparently, however, pothole-filling needn’t be such an involved process. Cities now have the option of using the Python 5000, which is a vehicle that is operated by one person from inside its cab, and that can patch a two-foot (0.6-meter) pothole in about two minutes. Read More