Innovative Solutions to Potholes

Technology BusinessCivil infrastructure construction and maintenance represent a large societal investment.  Potholes, in particular, are a nightmare for drivers in every city or town throughout the US. Potholes are generally produced when water gets trapped under asphalt and between the soil. The condition continues to get aggravated with traffic and the pressure that is exerted by the elements ultimately causes a pothole in the road.

Fixing these holes are fairly inexpensive and traffic headaches can be avoided when the potholes are detected early. It is not a realistic task to send out workers to check for street damages on a consistent basis. Even when workers do find damages early, it can take weeks to fix. Bythen, the crack has already become a pothole.

Ming Wang, and engineering professor, and his team have developed a system called VersatileOnboard Traffic Embedded Roaming Sensors (VOTERS), which is believed that it will alleviate the pothole problem. The system includes sensors and a radar system that are installed in a moving vehicle. As the vehicle travels on the road, it collects air pressure changes that are caused by bumps on the road. The radar system picks up air and water pockets under the asphalt. This data is then sent to a database, where it is analyzed and the results would be sent to those who would be able to fix the roads before a pothole emerges. This system can eventually lead to savings in the long run.

The hope for this product is that the sensors will be installed in future cars, which would collect road data. The data would not be as detailed as the entire system, but at least it would increase the quality of the roads.

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