THE INTERNET giant Google is to take on the world’s pothole epidemic with technology that can locate road imperfections and mark them on its maps.
The new system, for which Google has just been granted a patent, will help users of its mapping and navigation services to avoid potholes. The device will use shock sensors and GPS to note the location of uneven road surfaces travelled on by smartphone owners and then feed the information into a central computer that creates road quality reports. The data will allow Google Maps to suggest smoother alternative routes in its navigation tool.
Potholes are the scourge of drivers, motorcyclists and cyclists, causing damage to wheels and tyres, and sometimes causing accidents. In Britain it is estimated they cost motorists £750m a year in damage.
A report by the World Economic Forum, an independent body that brings together business leaders, politicians and academics, claimed that Britain’s roads were on a par with Namibia’s and worse than those of Croatia and Chile. Fixing each pothole costs councils roughly £50.