The project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement 955356.Project outline
The 48-month HERON project, 'Improved Robotic Platform to perform Maintenance and Upgrading Roadworks: The ΗΕRΟΝ Approach' (start date 1 June 2021), aims to develop an integrated automated system to perform maintenance and upgrading roadworks, such as sealing cracks, patching potholes, asphalt rejuvenation, autonomous replacement of elements of Connected Urban Developments and road markings, but also supporting the pre/post-intervention phase including visual inspections and dispensing and removing traffic cones in an automated, controlled manner. HERON aims to reduce fatal accidents, maintenance costs and traffic disruptions, thus increasing network capacity and efficiency.
The HERON system consists of: i) an autonomous ground robotic vehicle that will be supported by autonomous drones to coordinate maintenance works and the pre-/post- intervention phase; ii) various robotic equipment, including sensors and actuators, placed on the main vehicle; iii) sensing interface installed both to the robotic platform and to the Road Infrastructures (RI) to allow improved monitoring of the structural, functional and RI's and markings' conditions; iv) the control software that interconnects the sensing interface with the actuating robotic equipment; v) Augmented Reality (AR) visualisation tools that enable the robotic system to see in detail surface defects and markings under survey; vi) Artificial Intelligence (AI) based toolkits that will act as the middleware for optimally coordinating the road maintenance/upgrading workflows and for intelligent processing of distributed data coming from the vehicle and the infrastructure sensors for safe operations and not disruption of other routine operations or traffic flows; vii) enhanced visualisation user interface supporting decisions and viii) communication modules to allow for Vehicle-to-Infrastructure/Everything (V2I/X) data exchange for predictive maintenance and increase users' safety.
HERON will be the first robotic system for automated corrective maintenance and upgrading roadworks. The HERON system will feature a cutting-edge vision system augmented with Machine Learning algorithms to identify the PoIs (eg defects, markings) and instruct the robotic arm to perform the essential actions. The whole system will be hosted by and embedded in the Polaris drone platform (Unmanned Ground Vehicle), which features autonomous navigation and advanced positioning and mapping technologies.Project goals
The HERON project targets the following Scientific & Technical Objectives (STO):STO1
. Develop an integrated robotic platform with increased navigation and positioning capabilities for maintenance and upgrading tasks and concurrent assessment of the RIs.STO2
. Provide an optimised control framework for developing and refining robotic manipulation skills required to perform assessment and maintenance and upgrading interventions of RI.STO3
. Integrate improved sensing and communication capabilities to the robotic platform to extract the required measurements in the identified areas of concern within an acceptable degree of accuracy.STO4
. Implement an AI toolkit enriched with image analysis modules to optimally coordinate the whole maintenance process and simultaneously process in a smart way the data from the sensing interface to take accurate and prompt decisions which can guarantee an unhindered execution of the traffic flow and a safe execution of routine maintenance works by the personnel.STO5
. Design and develop proper communication architecture to support seamless and ubiquitous services among the various actors of the maintenance and upgrading operations (sensors, UGVs and drones).STO6
. Implement an integrated Decision Support System and an advanced Incident Management System with interactive AR/VR visualisation tools.STO7
. Implement on-site integration, scaled-demonstration of the services and the technological components and validation of the HERON platform in three case studies (Greece, France and Spain).Our input
Resilience Guard GmbH, based on its extensive experience accumulated over the years, will contribute to the Risk Management aspects of the HERON project, as well as in the Resilience Management logic/framework to be applied. In particular, Resilience Guard GmbH is responsible for the knowledge and information management of the HERON project in accordance with EC guidelines on data management, the operational and technical assessment of the HERON system at the selected demo cases, organisation of the training activities and development of the project's corporate identity and website.
Resilience Guard GmbH also leads the Work Package (WP) involved in the exploitation of the project findings, the project's business plan, standardisation and sustainability activities as well development of the long-term vision roadmap to market uptake and the engagement of public stakeholders.Find out more
More detailed information and news regarding the HERON project can be found on the project's website: https://www.heron-h2020.eu