Local News

Robot Evaluates Sidewalk Conditions In Madras

MADRAS, OR -- A robot roaming Madras is helping the Public Works Department. The city’s Lysa Vattimo says "DAX" is mapping all of the sidewalks, and ranking them from one to five, "One would be the sidewalk needs repaired or needs an ADA ramp; five meaning it’s perfect. Then that data will be dropped into a software that lays over a map for the city. The city can use that information, then, to make improvements or apply for grant funding to receive funding to make improvements on sidewalks."

She says DAX can complete the evaluation of miles of sidewalks much more quickly than a human, "He’ll have every sidewalk within city limits mapped within about a week. In addition, he downloads the data right into the software; it’s in real time. A human would have to go out and do that with a laptop in hand." She tells KBND News, city staff are better served elsewhere right now, "There’s street sweeping, there’s irrigation, we’re getting ready for the spring, we’re trying to get the parks ready for our community. There’s a lot of stuff going on."

For more than two years, DAX has been used to deliver food in Monmouth and Philomath … this public works application is an experiment for the company. "Because this is a first time project, the city is not having to pay for this service," says Vattimo.

She admits some in the community expressed concern about the project, after it was announced last week, worried about vandalism or theft, "DAX weighs about 150 pounds; so I’m not sure he’s going to be that easy to just pick up and carry away. He is monitored in real time, through a human, and they’ve been running DAX in Philomath and Monmouth - the company has - for a little over two years. And they have had nothing but pleasant experiences with him."

DAX as supposed to start work Monday, but connectivity issues kept him parked most of the day. Once he gets started, he'll work from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.


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