Google develop pothole-mapping technology

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Pothole
Potholes can wreck cars. They send shock waves throughout cabins, can cause damage to important components and occasionally puncture tyres.

In the face of this, Google has been granted a patent for technology that would allow cars to detect potholes and review this back to a main database.

Using shock sensors, cars would be able to detect uneven road surfaces and report if there were any irregularities, such as potholes. It then relays this information via an onboard GPS system to a remote server, logging the location of the problem area, too.

By doing this, drivers would be provided with the smoothest route possible, based on the direction of their journey.

In its patent Google explained: "The signals from the sensors are monitored by an electronic circuit of the head unit and analysed to judge the quality of the road by the amount of vertical vibration that is encountered.

"This data, together with the vehicle's location, may be transmitted through a mobile network to a central server for distribution and to improve driving directions in mapping software."

With damage caused by potholes costing British motorists £730 million every year, this technology could radically decrease the amount spent on fixing damage caused by poor road surfaces. And whilst the damage caused to cars can run into the thousands, the cost of fixing the average pothole in the UK is just £50.

However, this technology may first be developed for Google's driverless car programme, enabling cars to analyse the road in front of them in order to avoid potentially harmful obstacles.