The Sydney council using an unlikely asset to tackle potholes
In his 10 years as a garbage truck driver, Joe Kohu has never seen so many potholes.
But now the Sydney man is a part of the solution.
Canterbury Bankstown Council’s fleet of garbage trucks has been fitted with cameras in a state-first ploy designed to detect road damage.
Mayor Khal Asfour dubbed the change as a “game-changer” for residents.
“Garbage trucks travel on every inch of road in our city,” Mr Asfour said.
Currently, when councils receive a tip-off, they review the truck footage, assess the damage and prioritise repairs.
But soon, AI technology will make the process smoother.
“The idea is that this technology will learn from the data what’s a pothole, what’s a crack, understand how they change and grow,” Canterbury Bankstown Council’s Rebecca Bell said.
“The data will ideally be shown on a map and it will indicate in simple colour coding where different challenges exist.”
“(We) will be able to visually see it and make decisions.
“Over time we’ll be able to understand if we see a pothole this size now then in a week it will look like this.”
With help from the cameras and public tip-offs, the council has filled 750 potholes in three weeks, which has spared more cars from the damage seen during Sydney’s rain bomb.
The NRMA has seen a 300 per cent increase for towing vehicles that hit potholes in the wet weather.
Locals in Canterbury Bankstown currently wait up to five days for pothole plugging but Mr Asfour said with this technology, the wait should be reduced.
“We do audit of roads every four years, this will allow us to do it on a daily basis, saving money and keeping the public safe,” Mr Asfour said.
With thousands of potholes still unfilled, the government wants the AI technology rolled out across more councils.
Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said the government is working with councils such as Wollongong and Liverpool to roll out the technology.