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Aussie visionaries leading the world in roadside maintenance technology

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Truly revolutionary developments occur when need meets leading edge technology within a vision whose scope embraces the full panorama of all that is possible.  

The future is not tomorrow it is converging here today.

An application technology so practical and beneficial in its breadth that we can ask not why but … why not!

Roadside maintenance and roadside vegetation and asset management has just been made seriously interesting and may never be the same again.

Innovators, inventors, designers and Australian engineering futurists Nathan Boyle and his father Norm from the NSW south coast town of Bega along with their small team at Slasher Teck have developed new roadside maintenance technology which is set to take the world by storm.

Australian owned, designed and manufactured – the local and international roll out of their new hi-tech Aussie inventions – has put Slasher Teck into the global commercial fast lane.

Slasher Teck unveiled its new technologies at the CeBIT business technology show in Sydney earlier this year.

Identifying a real world need and providing workable practical cost effective solutions is often the basis for ground breaking inventions.

Challenges

Roadside vegetation management has always presented challenges not only in remote areas with many kilometres of road but also in urban high traffic areas where safety is a prime consideration. Australia has over 900,000km of road.

Trimming, cutting (slashing) and mulching overgrown grass and vegetation around roadside posts and signs as well as under roadside barriers has been a near intractable problem for every Australian shire council. This is particularly the case with roads in rural areas where in one state alone, more than 25,000km of road is classified as remote.

The challenges associated with transporting teams to remote areas and the tedious work at the height of summer with whipper snipping overgrown vegetation was simply calling out for a better way of doing things.

The brilliance of the Slasher Teck technology is how roadside grass and vegetation management and traffic control are seamlessly integrated in to a single end to end solution. 

But it gets better, while in operation the Slasher Teck RoboCollect field units have the capacity to also collect roadside refuse such as tyres and car parts, drink cans and containers along with sundry litter and place these in a compactor.

Possibilities are breathtaking

Drivers, road users, Government maintenance administrators and asset management operatives will similarly be excited by the Slasher Teck units capability in photographing and cataloguing all roadside assets such as telephone poles, all signage such as safety, limits, warnings and advisories; structural integrity of safety barriers.

So all-encompassing is the Slasher Teck solution that when damaged assets such as signs are identified an automated alert which can even include a works procurement order can be sent over wireless cloud communications to the nearest council maintained depot as an action item complete with GPS location. In terms of the future implications for asset management the scope of possibilities are breathtaking.

From the comfort of an air-conditioned tractor cabin an operator can control the vegetation front cutter/slasher as well as the rear “reach arm” rotational slasher. Whilst these vegetation maintenance functions are being performed, two fully signaged traffic management vehicle drones (such as one leading one trailing) can be pre-set by speed, distance and sign message by interactive electronic sensors controlled from the driver’s cabin.

Hard work and patience

Even obstacles can be identified by the sensors allowing the drones work around a barrier.

Realising any technical vision takes commitment, ingenuity, hard work and patience. This innovation is no different.

Government level support has consisted of a NSW Department of Industry grant ($98,000) for assistance in the development of the Slasher Teck Traffic Management Drones. Slasher Teck is considering an application to the Federal Government for an Accelerated Commercialisation Grant to put the entire roadside maintenance and traffic management system into production. Private capital raisings also been pivotal in meeting R&D and pilot project costs.

Slasher Teck is committed to manufacturing in Australia. Many Australians would hope the federal and State Government would also consider working together to create an advanced manufacturing factory with the re-tooling flexibility to provide cost effective local manufacturing facilities for our great Australian inventions such as Slasher Teck.

Australian Innovation, technology and methodology have converged to deliver an integrated roadside maintenance, drone safety and asset management solution that is a world first and meets all relevant criteria for being called revolutionary.

David Gray is lead consultant at Digital Information Partners providers of media, publicity and export documentation services. www.diginfo.com.au

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