July 23, 2012
Potholes Driving You Mad? Report Them With New App
So you’re driving down the street and you just hit your third pothole in less than a block; Wouldn’t you just love to find someone responsible for this and give ‘em an earful? Well maybe there’s a way you can do just that without running all over hell looking for someone to complain to.
Boston officials are testing a new app called Street Bump that, when installed onto a user’s smartphone, automatically reports the road hazard to the city as soon as your tire hits that hole.
How it works is, before you leave to go on the road, you start up the app, then set the phone on the either on the dashboard or in a cup holder. The rest is all up to the smartphone. The phone’s accelerometer – motion detector – sense when the car hit’s a bump and after recorded the location on GPS, transmit’s the signal to a remote server hosted by Amazon’s web services division.
The app is so technologically advanced, it can filter out things like raised speed-bumps and manhole covers, as well as debris.
Developers of the app said their work is already gaining interest in other cities around the world, imagining other ways they can use the technology.
The app initially only works for roads in the Boston, Mass-area. City officials are hoping the app might eventually allow them to save money by creating a real-time map of potholes that need to be fixed rather than sending out city trucks to troll hundreds of miles of roads in search of damaging holes.
Potholes are a real problem in the north, and in Boston, road crews patch about 19,000 potholes every spring following the annual freeze-thaw cycle, according to the city’s public works dept.
So far, a few hundred users have already downloaded the app since it first became available on Apple’s App Store in June. Experts said they are currently working on an Android version. After that, the developers will work to expand the app to other cities in a few months and then collect data to find ways to refine the app.
Besides being used for detecting and reporting potholes, the technology utilized in the Street Bump app could be put to use in a wide range of issues. It could possibly be used in the early detection of earthquakes and as a “black box” for cars that can tell whether a vehicle was moving or not before a collision, and may possibly be able to prove who was at fault in a crash.
Image Credit: Photos.com