Development of an Intelligent Snowplow Truck that Integrates Telematics Technology, Roadway Sensors, and Connected Vehicle
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) maintains over 28,000 miles of roadways, with road maintenance including pavement repair, snow removal, and de-icing activities. INDOT is prioritizing de-icing technologies and applications that can be utilized during winter storms and mitigate travel and safety weather impacts. The primary objective of this study was to identify and develop tools to assist INDOT in making data-driven decisions and provide its operators to effectively perform de-icing, and to evaluate technological feasibility for state-wide deployment and winter operational activities. Optimized calibration metrics and the fleet-wide telematics of 1,100 trucks were integrated into real-time analytic dashboards. Automated brine applicators on two 5,500-gallon tankers were developed. Data were collected throughout January and February 2021 along U.S. Interstate Highway 65 in the northbound travel direction.
- Integrate telematics into real-time analytic dashboards to expedite evaluations and facilitate effective resource allocation. The effective fleet management of snowplow trucks allows agencies to know where trucks are, ensuring that resources (e.g., salt) can be effectively allocated. This study integrated telematics from 1,100 trucks into real-time dashboards. Snow plow trajectories were overlaid on the heat map to show snow removal activities with respect to traffic speeds. This dashboard allowed operation managers to analyze storm impact and effectively deploy trucks.
- Implement and install automated precision spray application controllers throughout the fleet to reduce driver workload and distracted driving. This will facilitate consistent pre-treatment activities and measures. Depending on traffic and driver workload, some application zones may be missed, so there can be a variation in the number of spray zones between runs. This study developed an automated precision brine applicator on two 5,500-gallon tankers to reduce driver workload and the potential for distracted driving.
- Develop after-storm reports to allow agencies to evaluate deployment and assess applications. This information would provide the agency management with insight on deployment and evaluation measures of each precipitation event. Results should be used to develop training materials and further optimize calibration practices.
- Utilize sun shadow simulation to generate large-scale dynamic prescription maps for winter road treatment operations. These maps could allow agencies to further optimize DOT treatments and prioritize high-risk road segments. Optimized road treatments could also reduce the environmental impact of winter operations.
- Ensure accurate data collection and evaluations by testing these technologies and validating the data. Perform simulations on large road networks and gather information on shading, weather, and road obstacles. This data should be used to improve the accuracy of dynamic maps.