RoadEO – Monitoring Roads from Space and from the Ground
Start-up in the Spotlight: RoadEO
Roads are the most important public asset of every country and cost us billions of euros for maintenance every year. Heavier traffic loads and climate change will dramatically increase these expenses, which is why public and private road authorities want to move away from scheduled maintenance towards predictive maintenance, which can save them up to 50% in time and money. Unfortunately, they lack the knowledge, tools and, most importantly, the big data to do so and that’s where RoadEO comes into play!
RoadEO is developing a global road quality monitoring and prediction platform that tells our clients when and where the next road segment needs to be maintained with the goal of saving time and costs while improving road safety and comfort. We are doing this by combining satellite earth observation with crowdsourced smartphones. Satellites to detect the wear on the roads and smartphones to record structural damage such as potholes, cracks and surface roughness. We then combine the measurements to create new insights about the current state of the road segments as well as use this new big data source for predictive analytics that advise our clients whether maintenance work should occur earlier or later than initially planned.
We started our journey in 2017 after having won the regional Galileo Masters but realised in the first few months of our ESA Business Incubation programme that both our initial application area and technology proposition were unfeasible. With the help of the BIC, the Copernicus Accelerator and, most importantly, our matched mentor Dr. Manfred Krischke, we were able to extract the “gold nuggets” from our previous work and ambition and identified the infrastructure asset monitoring application as both lucrative and impactful. Using existing sensor infrastructure from space and from the ground to bring big data into this rather traditional industry segment has great disruptive potential and allows for global scalability, which aligns with our vision of improving road condition and safety worldwide.
Having developed our first prototypes, we are now running three pilots on highways, municipal and provincial roads together with partners such as Verhaert, TU Delft, BAM, as well as Dutch municipalities and provinces. Our next step will be automating our processes and testing them in further pilots in the Netherlands and Germany before scaling them to new territories. We are now preparing for a seed round, allowing us to further fuel our traction, and will continue making use of the prototypes to the full extent!
Words from the Mentor
I had the pleasure of getting to know Alex and his start-up at the point where his initial proposition didn’t add up, both technically and commercially. Being a passionate entrepreneur and engineer myself, Alex and I were able to connect on a professional and personal level, which allowed us to make great progress and form a proposition that is innovative, novel and, most importantly, desirable. I’m sure Alex and his team will succeed no matter what, although the Accelerator certainly saved them a few years!
Dr. Manfred Krischke
Co-Founder and CEO, CloudEO AG