Potholes are an infrastructure problem that almost everyone has encountered. They’re also not likely to be addressed by cities and municipalities until the public makes an effort to report them. Even then, it’s not always clear which roads are in the most dire need of limited infrastructure funds. To help address these issues, a Texas based organization is working on automating the pothole reporting process using GPS and data collection devices.

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From Bumps In The Road To Municipal Offices

Thing for Things, a group based in North Texas, has proposed the use of a tiny plug-in device that will use GPS coordinates and vibratory sensors to collect data on the location and severity of potholes encountered during a drive. The resulting data would then be automatically transmitted to the appropriate municipal offices so that roadway maintenance could be prioritized and deployed.

Credit: Oregon Department of Transportation

Help Drivers Avoid A Rough Ride

Currently, Thing for Things has entered discussions with the cities of Richardson and Arlington, Texas to see how the pothole sensing and reporting plug-in might be incorporated into city vehicles. Thing for Things CEO Ashok Sami has also proposed using the collected data to create an app that would allow drivers to see road conditions and find alternative routes to avoid a rough ride when possible.

Prioritize Repair Before Conditions Worsen 

With concrete data on which roads are in most dire need of repair, it may be possible to utilize infrastructure repair funding with optimal efficiency, and help address issues promptly before seriously costly and hazardous road conditions worsen.


What are your thoughts on this proposal? Would you like to see this technology implemented on your local roads? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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