Plug-in device can report location, severity of potholes using vehicle’s vibrations

Updated Jun 3, 2017

PotholeroadA Texas group called Thing for Things is trying to fix the pothole problem in North Texas using technology, reports.

The group came up with the idea of using a small plug-in device that can attach to almost any vehicle to collect road condition data as the vehicle travels the roads. The plug-in uses GPS coordinates to locate and gauge the severity of potholes by using the vehicle’s vibrations.

“Right now, cities deal with [potholes] by relying on the common population to report issues with streets, or they will send out trucks to manually look at the problems,” Thing for Things CEO Ashok Sami told the news agency. “It would be nice to automate the whole process and get data from a lot of different automobiles on the street. The real use is looking at the data historically and the current conditions. When you put all of that together, it adds a lot of value.”

Thing for Things said they are in preliminary discussions with the cities of Richardson and Arlington about how they might outfit city vehicles with the plug-in, allowing the city to collect pothole and road condition data as the vehicles go about their normal everyday business.

Once enough data is collected, Sami told the news agency that it could be shared in the form of an app for drivers to see what route provides the best road conditions.