Potholes aren’t just annoying, they can cause a great deal of damage to your vehicle. Google has filed a patent for a system that tracks potholes and rough roads using your vehicle’s GPS system. Using this information, the system could help you find a better route, alert all drivers of the conditions, or even alert the city of the need for street repairs. For this week’s Tech Tip Tuesday, Carsforsale.com is reviewing the potential of this new pothole car tech, and how it could impact your driving experience.
The Danger of Potholes
To most of us, potholes are just a reason to complain about use of tax dollars. In reality, they pose a real threat to your vehicle. Tire and wheel damage are the most common consequences of hitting a pothole, but that’s just the beginning. Hitting deep potholes can cause damage to the front end of your vehicle. Potholes can lead to suspension and major alignment issues.
Tip: Try to slow down before hitting a pothole, but don’t hit your brakes while you’re in the pothole, as that can cause more damage than the pothole itself.
Google’s Pothole Patent
Initially, we expect that Google will simply monitor and report road quality using a vehicle’s GPS system. Most new vehicles already have the sensors and technology needed to identify rough vs smooth roads. Google’s ultimate motive may go beyond just pothole mapping and avoidance. We expect this technology to impact the world of autonomous driving.
If you haven’t heard, Google has built and is testing an autonomous car. The Google Car prototype is functional and adorable (see below). As cute as it is, this vehicle certainly isn’t equipped for overcoming deep potholes. If Google plans on sticking with this prototype design in a production self-driving car, it needs the ability to avoid potholes.
How Could It Affect You?
Google only recently filed the patent, so real-world implementation of this car technology is probably far away. However, if and when this technology hits the road, we expect those utilizing Google navigation to see the immediate benefits. A continuously updated database of road quality would help drivers pick the path of least resistance without testing all the routes themselves.