Next Generation Monitoring Systems

Published: Jul 2022

ISBN: 978-1-915227-22-5

Author: N. Dhillon, A. Hannay, R. Workman

Pages: 58

Reference: ACA022


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Survey vehicles, operating at traffic-speed, are deployed across the road network to assess the condition of road pavements. These apply high-quality (and high cost) equipment to measure condition. However, significant progress has been made in the development of low-cost sensors and data collection units that may have potential for application in highways. This project has aimed to understand the capabilities of this emerging technology. The project explores the technologies and combines a Raspberry-Pi based Data Acquisition System, compact camera, GPS, inertial measurement system, Wifi and 4G GSM comms and a low-cost Solid State LiDAR into a prototype device. The total cost is a few hundred pounds.

Trials characterise the prototype system. Although the solid-state LiDAR sensors are not found to be robust in this application, the remaining sensors show strong potential for use in road condition assessment. A wider trial of the prototype system in a potential application – the measurement of roughness (IRI) on developing world road networks – was carried out in El Salvador. The prototype shows comparable performance with alternatives, combined with higher levels of practicality and capability, and the potential for higher levels of consistency through a common low-cost measurement platform. In the light of this research, it is felt that, following refinements to the prototype, the initial application for the device would be for condition surveys in developing world nations.

The client in El Salvador tells the story from their perspective here: Data Collection in the Time of COVID-19 | Millennium Challenge Corporation (


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