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Computer-aided road marking machine - RoadWriter

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - RoadWriter (Computer-aided road marking machine - RoadWriter)

Reporting period: 2015-10-01 to 2016-03-31

Horizontal road markings are considered to be the most effective way of increasing traffic safety by reducing road accidents. Although they are a necessity for modern urban infrastructures, road marking jobs are still being done by traditional methods based on human skill and manual labor, like using preformed templates to apply signs and symbols. These methods are found to be costly and inefficient, considering the required manpower, the need to close roads for long periods, and the imprecise outputs caused by human errors. Having established that there is a need to replace the traditional approach to road marking with an innovative alternative, we proposed the idea of an autonomous road marking machine called RoadWriter, which will do the job with much less work force, utmost precision, and great speed.
To turn the idea into a tangible product, first we had to make sure if it is technically and financially feasible. With the support of TUBITAK (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey) we completed the first R&D stage, and produced a functional prototype for the first field tests. We filed a patent application to the national patent office, and made preparations for international protection. During the SME Instrument Phase 1 of the Horizon 2020 program, we performed a detailed research regarding our target markets, filed a PCT application, arranged stakeholder meetings, conducted interviews with experts, and developed a sales & marketing strategy based on the gathered information. From the results of the study, we have understood that the idea behind RoadWriter is indeed feasible, and started to prepare for the next stages of our project.
The quality and visibility of horizontal road markings gain in importance, especially in Western countries, where traffic accidents pose an unbearably heavy socio-economic burden, and the number of elderly drivers with poorer visual abilities increases every year. Moreover, in the near future, horizontal road markings are expected to become an indispensable element in the infrastructure of smart cities. They will provide live information to smart vehicles about the road and environmental conditions, and will likely serve as a grid system to be used by self-steering cars for navigational purposes. The speed, quality, and cost-effectiveness provided by RoadWriter in applying road markings are expected to be vital improvements towards safer roads and smarter cities.