Michigan Intelligent Snow Plow Solution
Posted on 03.06.14

Delcan Technologies was selected to implement an Intelligent Snow Plow system for the State of Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). Deployment of the 270+ MDC (Mobile Data Collector) units began in October 2013 with Phase I being completed in February 2014.

The first phase of the MDOT intelligent snow plow project included the installation of MDC units that transmit data provided by the plow blade sensors, spreader controller, GPS receiver, and air and road temperature sensors. This data is sent to the central Intelligent NETworks system where system administrators can monitor, analyze, and report on winter maintenance activity.

Intelligent Snow Plow Module Features

The Intelligent NETworks Winter Maintenance module selected by MDOT collects real-time information on weather and roadway conditions to monitor and control winter maintenance vehicles in the field.  In addition to analyzing MDC data, the module includes the following features:

MDSS: The MDC system has been linked with a Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS) to provide winter maintenance treatment recommendations. An MDSS works by combining historical weather data, weather forecasts, and current weather conditions with the real-time data collected from MDCs installed in vehicles. The data collected from the MDCs is sent to the MDSS, which then analyzes the data using multiple computer models and sends specific maintenance recommendations back to the MDCs and to the central system monitored by MDOT management.

Geo Services: This new feature added to the Winter Maintenance module provides geo-fencing capabilities. This allows MDOT winter maintenance management to receive alerts when snow plows enter or exit specified geographic locations. For example, system managers may choose to be alerted any time a snow plow enters a garage. They can then track how much time the vehicle spends in the garage before exiting.

Multiple Views: The MDOT system has been configured with two viewing settings: garage view and state-wide view. A garage view is created for each MDOT garage. Users are allowed to see the vehicles and associated data within their own garage. The state-wide view shows all MDOT connected vehicles and their associated data. Users with special permissions, such as MDOT managers, can access the state-wide view.

Reporting: Intelligent NETworks Winter Maintenance module includes advanced ad hoc reporting. This provides MDOT with rich, customized reporting capabilities. MDOT administrators can quickly and easily select any two data points collected by the MDC system and create a custom report.


MDOT elected to install all the MDC units. Delcan Technologies shipped the first set of equipment and sensors. Then, Declan Technologies went on-site to provide hands-on installation training for selected MDOT personnel. By training the MDOT crew, their team now has the capability to install new systems and transfer them between vehicles. In addition, MDOT-trained staff can instruct more staff as needed. This allows for greater control and independence.