I must be fairly lucky, because even though the American Society of Civil Engineers gives American roads an overall grade of D, I haven’t had too many encounters with bad road, especially potholes.
That said, AAA estimates that about 30 million drivers need pothole-related automotive repairs annually, with many of these fixes costing over $1,000.
Couple these expenses with the growing amount of electronics now found on vehicles, and it’s no surprise that some innovative solutions have made their way to the market.
One is CarVi. Currently attached to more than 60,000 vehicles around the world, the windshield-mounted device provides a camera that was initially developed to help keep drivers safe by beeping if the vehicle starts to meander out of its lane or get too close to neighboring traffic.
But CarVi’s latest software update will also teach these cameras how to identify potholes. The general idea is to identify where these automotive money pits reside and then share that data with local governments. Ideally, this would allow for expedited road repairs.
Down the road, the imagery obtained by cameras such as CarVi’s could also help identify potential pothole locations so preventative measures could be taken.
This could include cracks, seams in the pavement or deflections, which are the flexes in the pavement that would pinpoint areas where the road is not entirely solid and potholes could form.
CarVi modules go for about $300, with another $20-$30 monthly data charge.