Since the end of 2019, Visual Defence has communicated with over one hundred Canadian municipalities and organizations about their current road maintenance practices. Through these meetings, it became apparent that all of these parties face numerous challenges. All are expected to deliver an extensive range of services within tight time frames, more than often with limited resources and constrained budgets. Faced with such daunting issues, it is easy to understand why some do not wish to “rock the boat” and prefer to stick with their current approaches and methods. We would like to take a moment to recognize the municipalities and organizations that do, thus demonstrating innovation, leadership and willingness to collaborate. Bold actions taken to improve within and support others, taken by courageous individuals, and empowered by the right organizational culture, procedures and environment, deserve such recognition.
Originally developed in collaboration with the City of Richmond Hill with the support of the Ontario Centres of Excellence under Ontario’s Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) program, ROVER was created to identify potholes automatically using artificial intelligence. Excited by the technology and its potential, six municipalities teamed with Visual Defence to form the ROVER Workgroup—a connected collection of Canadian municipalities and organizations that are working together to evaluate how artificial intelligence can improve road maintenance and municipal inspection services. Since the onset of the program, 34 additional members joined to what has now become one of Canada’s largest collaborative public/private initiatives utilizing artificial intelligence. All seek to establish an affordable technology for road maintenance to improve road networks across Canada, with the understanding that we are stronger when we work together.
The ROVER Workgroup is composed of municipalities and organizations that are unafraid to look outside of existing systems and conventions in the interest of improvement. They have all demonstrated an eagerness to explore novel approaches in an effort to enhance their operations and help others. To celebrate the milestone of 40 members across Canada, we are presenting the ROVER workgroup recognition awards. They are intended to highlight our members’ contributions to the use of artificial intelligence for the improvement of Canadian road networks.
The initial six members, the City of Richmond Hill, City of Markham, Town of New Tecumseth, Town of Aurora, Town of Innisfill and Town of East Gwillimbury, have all exemplified leadership through forming the group. Their extraordinary support has set an example and paved the way for others to follow, and as such, Visual Defence is proud to acknowledge their initiative with Founding Member awards.
We are also extremely fortunate to work with the additional 34 municipalities and related organizations that contributed to the ROVER Workgroup since putting together the initial group and wish to express our gratitude through Contributor awards, recognizing their willingness to improve and help others. These members span six provinces and territories and cover road networks of around 38,013 km with population representing about 10% of Canada’s population. All are working in concert to help and create a future where we work together, smarter and better to keep our road networks well maintained and safe.
As the ROVER Workgroup grows, our members continue to share invaluable insights, constructive feedback and intelligent suggestions, all while demonstrating dedication to excellence and positive attitude. We look forward to the continuation of the ROVER initiative and endeavor to keep Canadian municipalities, companies and organizations at the forefront of innovative AI solutions for road maintenance and inspections.