Company forms strategic partnership with Rubicon; in talks with Utah Department of Transportation
October 30, 2018 – San Francisco, CA – Lvl5, a company that creates HD maps for self-driving cars, today launched Road Quality, a new product that uses computer vision to help cities affordably monitor their roads in order to more efficiently maintain them with taxpayer money. Additionally, lvl5 has formed a strategic partnership with Rubicon, a technology company rooted in the waste and recycling industry, and is in talks with Utah’s Department of Transportation.
Most American cities score their roads in order to monitor how deteriorated they are – e.g. whether they have cracks, potholes, missing signs, etc. – and allocate maintenance accordingly. Cities contract out to firms to map the roads using LiDAR, which usually costs hundreds of dollars per mile, totaling up to millions of dollars per year for some cities.
Not only is it expensive, but it is also slow – the contracting firm must drive each road with LiDAR. As a result, many cities, like Los Angeles, only receive this data once per year, meaning the city depends on months-old data to fix roads today.
Payver, Lvl5’s dashcam app, pays users up to $0.05 per mile to record their driving using their cell phone. The company is already working with many Uber and Lyft drivers across the US who run the dashcam app throughout the day. As cars are driving around, they are “vacuuming” up data about the roads. The company then uses its computer vision algorithm to translate that crowdsourced footage into maps that rate road quality and show cities where problems exist.
Lvl5’s road quality scores are continuously updated through their crowdsourcing model so that cities can quickly identify problems and fix them before they become larger, more expensive issues. For example, a crack that is fixed immediately won’t become a pothole, saving money for both the city and drivers. Further, because lvl5’s system is crowdsourced and automated, the company can provide the service for under $70 per mile compared to the current rates of several hundred dollars per mile.
Lvl5’s flagship product uses the same technology to develop HD maps for self-driving cars. The company saw that cities had an enormous need for this same data and have now added Road Quality as a second product which will be available to local governments via an API.
Analyzing five million miles of driving on U.S. roads, the company has ranked states for road quality and found that Michigan has the worst roads in the country while Florida has the best.
“We’ve developed a technology that can instantly score a road based on objective measures,” said Andrew Kouri, co-founder and CEO of lvl5. “We want to help cities find their truly desperate roads so they can make more informed decisions and allocate their resources efficiently.”
The company also analyzed if higher gasoline taxes or higher spending on construction impacted road quality, and found no correlation for either.
Strategic partnership with Rubicon
Lvl5 has signed a strategic partnership agreement with Rubicon, a technology company rooted in the waste and recycling industry, who has a mission to end waste. Working with Rubicon, Lvl5’s mapping technology will be incorporated into the RUBICONSmartCityTM platform, a solution which enables city managers and planners to help reduce operating expenses, divert waste from landfills, implement or improve recycling programs and work towards long-term sustainability goals.
Through Rubicon’s customized web-portal, city leaders can access neighborhood-specific analytics, data-driven tools, route optimization for haulers, and now real-time data on street conditions ranging from alligator cracks to potholes to unsafe driving conditions.
“The garbage truck is probably the one vehicle in all the world that visits every house and travels down every street each week,” said Phil Rodoni, Chief Technology Officer, Rubicon. “At Rubicon, we have a network of 5,000 haulers across the globe, many of which leverage our in-truck technology to help provide better recycling and waste solutions for cities of all sizes. With this agreement with Lvl5, Rubicon’s city customers will be able to leverage key road data to help make decisions on road repairs and road conditions – using technology to maximize the use of scarce resources.”
Founded by former Tesla and iRobot engineers, lvl5’s mission is to make self-driving vehicles available on a global scale by creating crowdsourced HD maps that use affordable consumer-grade cameras. Self-driving vehicles have not expanded globally because existing technology is prohibitively expensive and resource intensive. LiDAR costs approximately $80,000 while accurate HD maps require millions of engineering man-hours. By coupling crowdsourcing via their Payver dashcam app with inexpensive cameras, lvl5 will enable self-driving cars to finally expand globally and save countless lives in the process. The company was founded in 2016 and is based in San Francisco, CA. For more information, please visit http://lvl5.ai/
Rubicon is a technology company that provides waste, recycling, and smart city solutions to businesses and governments worldwide. It develops and deploys a full suite of cloud-based solutions to help its customers and network of independent waste haulers work towards more sustainable waste and recycling practices, uncover cost savings, and improve operations through data analytics. Using its proprietary technology platform, Rubicon helps its partners find economic value in their waste streams and confidently execute on their sustainability goals, always with an eye towards those solutions that have long-term economic viability. The company has over 1,000,000 service locations worldwide, is headquartered in Atlanta, GA, and has core teams in New York City and San Francisco. Rubicon is a Certified B Corporation and was named a Great Place to Work™ in 2018. Learn more at www.RubiconGlobal.com.
NOTE: RUBICONSmartCity is a Trademark of Rubicon. All rights reserved.