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Google Patents New Pothole Detection System

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 8/25/2015 Kelly Pleskot

Now that many cars have lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring systems, why isn't there such a thing as a pothole detection system? Apparently Google asked itself this question, and could be plotting to bring this feature to future cars.

Research

Google just received a patent for technology that can assess road quality conditions using GPS and vehicle sensors. Basically, a car drives over a pothole and sensors on the vehicle immediately pick up on the road imperfection. Signals from these sensors go to a vehicle head-unit that analyzes the quality of the road. Then, this information is sent through a mobile network to a central server, allowing Google to form a database of roads in need of repair. This, in turn, can influence driving directions on mapping software so that other motorists can avoid potholes well ahead of time.

No word on what this patent means for Jaguar Land Rover, which is also researching technology that detects potholes. Like Google's concept, Jaguar envisions a system that would allow road quality data to be shared for the benefit of all drivers. Already, magnetic suspension systems in certain JLR vehicles have sensors that can detect potholes and adjust to them, giving the automaker a strong foundation for developing further technologies. The next phase of its project will involve stereo digital cameras that can scan ahead and navigate a driver away from an upcoming pothole. MotorTrend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTrend Image

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office

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