Internet of things


Internet of Things helping to maintain roads

Monday, 24 October 2022

Scottish technology and research partners are developing a new interface, as part of the Scottish government’s Civtech 6 Accelerator programme. Partners include Dunfermline based start-up, DigiFlec, the Scottish Innovation Centre for IoT and sensors, CENSIS, and Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS). 

IoT sensors will be used to monitor the FLS road network, a network stretching over 10,000 kilometres. The sensors will collect data on temperature, moisture and potential blockages. 

“At the moment, to plan maintenance and check the condition of our road network we need to survey and inspect our roads by physically driving into the forest to check its condition and level of deterioration. 

“With trips sometimes involving hundreds of miles of travel, this takes up a good deal of time and resources. These sensors will mean we have invaluable, up-to-date information at our fingertips regarding the condition of our road network and forewarning us of any developing issues.” 

Josh Roberts

Innovation Manager at FLS

CENSIS supported DigiFlec by building IoT capabilities into the sensors and developing a specific non-contact sensor that can detect road temperature without being placed in the concrete, which can weaken the road.  

The innovation centre also identified the most appropriate sensors to use to capture the range of data required for the project, helping DigiFlec take the best overall sensing approach.  

“Local authorities and landowners currently face a paucity of information about the conditions on their roads. A big part of the reason for that is the time and costs involved in gathering data. This makes it difficult to make good decisions about where to focus efforts, and maximise time, material, and resources. 

“Yet, Scotland has a working countryside with everything from heavy industry to the hospitality sector using roads alongside residents. The road system needs to serve all of those sectors’ needs whilst being usable for communities going about their day-to-day lives. Our system allows the people managing roads to better understand their condition, which is key to making road infrastructure a better experience for everyone.” 

Steven Gillan

Director at DigiFlec

Reliable data gathering and the capability to deploy sensors in remote and rural areas could have wider applications for public road network management. Rachael Wakefield, business development manager at CENSIS, added: “This CivTech project demonstrates the real difference that IoT, imaging, and sensing technologies can make – particularly when they are combined.” 

Read more: CENSIS project aims to consign rocky rural roads to history - CENSIS