The Precision Deicer, developed by Clinch River Computing and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, uses light-detection and ranging data to gauge the amount of salt or brine needed per section of road, judged against a vulnerability index that accounts for such variables as slope and solar radiation. This technology conserves public resources, ensures driver safety and reduces environmental damage from runoff.
The Precision Deicer delivers a breakthrough approach to snow and ice mitigation by combining the physics of snowmelt with high-resolution estimates of road vulnerability to help road crews determine the most effective amount of salt or brine to clear each roadway on a case-by-case basis and prioritize resources for the worst trouble spots. The technology measures lidar data and balances such variables as slope and solar radiation against traffic data and weather forecasts to optimize road treatment, making roads safer for drivers in icy conditions, reducing closures of businesses and government offices and avoiding the environmental consequences of runoff from excess salt and brine. Economic analysis suggests this innovation could save agencies as much as 20% percent of treatment costs.