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Google Pothole? Firm files patent to turn cars into automatic pothole reporters

Vertical movement sensors combined with GPS could help create constantly-updated pothole database

A recent Google patent could see cars building a constantly updated database of the nation’s potholes, reports Autoblog. The technology would see vehicles logging the location of major bumps in the road and uploading the information to the cloud.

The system combines a GPS-equipped infotainment system with a vertical movement sensor which would be located somewhere on the vehicle. Whenever a car hits a pothole, the location would be noted and the information uploaded to a central database.

The idea is that over time and with enough cars sending reports, an accurate picture of the state of roads can be put together. From Google’s perspective, the purpose of this might be to redirect cars along smoother stretches of tarmac, but a constantly-updated database of potholes could also be employed to identify where roadworks need carrying out. Whether the work would actually be completed or not is of course another matter, so don’t throw away the spray paint or gardening gloves just yet.

A patent guarantees nothing, but if Google does decide to pursue this, the software would surely be used within the firm’s driverless cars which are currently being tested out on the road. We’ve previously reported how another patent relating to these vehicles is a way for the cars to recognise cyclists' hand signals.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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