RoadVista Laserlux Retroreflectometer vs Retrotek Retroreflectometer

Comparing the RoadVista Laserlux Retroreflectometer to the RetroTek Retroreflectometer

There are new developments in vehicle technologies that will have a major impact on the road marking industry. The development of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) is likely to increase pressure on Road Authorities to improve the quality and consistency of road markings to support safety systems such as Lane Departure Warning. It is predicted that 73% of all new cars will include some form of ADAS by 2023. These advances in driving technology is encouraging a more standardised approach to uniform road markings internationally, in order for ADAS enabled vehicles to function efficiently globally.

Laserlux G7 Retroreflectometer

LaserLux Retroreflectometer side view

RetroTek-D Retroreflectometer

Laserlux G7 Retroreflectometer vs RetroTek-D Retroreflectometer lane measurement

“The innovative retroreflectometer has the ability to measure a full lane width, left and right in a single pass.”

Laserlux G7 retroreflectometer – single line measurement

The Laserlux G7 retroreflectometer performs retroreflectivity surveys at day and night, measuring at a width of 1m. This allows an operator to measure one side of a road with some driving skill required in order to maintain position of the unit within 1m of the desired line.

The RetroTek-D has a unique approach to retroreflectivity measurement. The innovative retroreflectometer has the ability to measure a full lane width, left and right in a single pass. That also includes any central markings or symbols. This is leading to a reduction in the time taken to complete a survey by up to 50% which in turn, reduces the fuel costs associated with road surveys by 50%.

RetroTek Retroreflectometer surveying all road assets
LaserLux Retroreflectometer front view

Laserlux retroreflectometer precision driving

The Laserlux G7 retroreflectometer requires the survey vehicle to maintain its lane position, with the retroreflectometer remaining within less than a meter of the line to be measured. Effectively this means precision driving is required to ensure an accurate survey.

The RetroTek-D is able to get accurate survey results while the car is in a normal lane position due to it being a front mounted unit. This makes surveys much safer for the single operator/driver and other road users with no requirement for precision driving close to the edge or centre lane lines. The RetroTek-D software algorithms continuously search and monitor for the lines and centre markings and adjust accordingly leaving the driver/operator to concentrate on driving.

Front Mounted Retroreflectometer vs Side Mounted

The Laserlux G7 unit attaches to the side of the survey vehicle using suction cups secured with safety straps. There are noteworthy risk factors associated with mobile systems that rely on suction cups and strapping for use. The surveying vehicle must stop regularly in order for operators to check that the unit is still secure and maintains correct 30m geometry. Another negative to this side mounted unit is that it represents an increased risk to passing traffic being a non-uniform protrusion from the vehicle. The Laserlux G7 system measures at a distance of 6m ahead of the sensors.

LaserLux Retroreflectometer suction caps
RetroTek Retroreflectometer close up tow hitch

Retrotek breaks the mould with its front mounted design. The RetroTek-D is mounted using the standard front square tow hitch on the survey vehicle, so no special modifications are required. Due to the fixed nature of this unit, there are none of the safety or vibration issues associated with competitor units that rely on suction cups or straps. It does not protrude from the side of the vehicle to endanger other road users. The RetroTek-D enclosure has ~ 8”+ (200mm) ground clearance while carrying out a survey, double the clearance of dynamic side mounted systems ensuring sufficient clearance for kerbs, parking stops, speed ramps etc. When not operational, it can be raised higher to provide even further protection. The RetroTek-D retroreflectivity conforms to 30m geometry & takes measurements at a distance of 12m ahead of the sensors.

Laser-diodes and Overhead Camera

The Laserlux G7 uses the traditional laser-diode based system, scanning markings over 400 times per second. This system uses an overhead camera, mounted on the inside of the windscreen, in order to capture video to support the survey reporting. The issue with using an overhead camera is that it doesn’t capture the same view that the retroreflectometer is seeing, which can lead to difficulties visibly identifying the cause of road markings failing to meet requirements.

LED Projector system and Integrated Camera

The RetroTek-D uses reliable, long-life LED projectors rather than lasers when taking measurements. It also uses an integrated camera, located within the front mounted unit. The video footage captured by this HD camera is used to support the survey report. With the camera being mounted at the correct geometry much closer to the road than with an overhead camera, images obtained give a much more accurate representation of the reflective condition of the road markings.

Other key features of the Laserlux G7 Retroreflectometer vs the RetroTek-D

Both the Laserlux and RetroTek systems can be used at normal road speeds, eliminating the need for road closures/traffic management.

Independent tests have verified that the RetroTek-D accurately measures in day or night the night visibility RL (coefficient of retroreflected luminance) of pavement line/striping markings to CEN En 1426 & ASTM E 1710 & as accurate as hand held retroreflectometers. The system also counts the presence and absence of Pavement Markers (RPMs)/ road studs and centre median barrier reflectors. RetroTek-D uniquely measures the retroreflectivity (RL) of both right and left longitudinal lines (edge and centre lines) and centre lane marking/symbols. This is not possible for side mounted systems without road closure/traffic management & multiple survey passes.

Both systems can accurately measure the daylight contrast ratio between the road surface and the road markings. The RetroTek-D has built-in automatic compensation for bright sunlight, shadows, road glare and vehicle bouncing from uneven road surfaces and driving behaviours (accelerating/braking).

Both systems use GPS to accurately record the exact locations where measurements have been taken, and where road markings have not met retroreflectivity requirements. This allows road maintenance authorities to efficiently plan reparation & maintenance efforts. This data is stored automatically.

Both the Laserlux G7 and RetroTek-D can be transferred to any vehicle due to the non-permanent nature of their fitting. The Laserlux can stick to the side of any vehicle whereas the RetroTek can utilise the tow hitch of vehicles with a front towing point.

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