Boston Public Works uses a Smartphone app to report potholes. Google has a new solution in the works.
Boston Globe/Getty Images
By Ethan Wolff-Mann
August 25, 2015

Everyone hates potholes. They can spill your coffee, tax your suspension, and if you’re a cyclist, they can easily leave you with a broken collarbone.

Last week, Google filed a patent to help solve pothole problems, describing a system that uses the GPS from cars’ navigation systems in conjunction with another bump sensor that detects vertical movement to map out potholes. Then, the system uploads the data to the cloud.

Fixing potholes is simple—municipalities and states simply fill them in—but locating them is inefficient, usually relying on people to fill out a form and report them individually. If Google puts this technology into cars, an entire database of road condition would be available to the Department of Transportation, enabling it easily identify and prioritize problem areas.

As Autoblog notes, a patent isn’t a guarantee Google will actually develop this into a reality, but judging from Google’s forays into self-driving cars it seems likely.

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