The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Friday, 08 August 2014 11:16cat

Northeastern University Researchers Developed System to Find Pothol

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The VOTERS system could reduce the number of potholes on the road to nearly zero The VOTERS system could reduce the number of potholes on the road to nearly zero

Researchers from Northeastern University in Boston have developed a system that can detect potholes before they occur. Drivers in the northern state run over countless potholes every winter. Many of these potholes across the country cause thousands of dollars worth of damage each year by popping tires, breaking axles, and throwing off vehicle alignment. As winter turns to spring, public works crews spend hundreds of hours fixing these potholes. The research group from Northeastern University believe that their system is ready to be transferred from their lab to the private sector for commercialization.

Boston already has an app called Street Bump that takes data off private vehicles’ accelerometers and forwards the important information onto road workers about the location of potholes. The app has received positive reviews, and Boston has already filled 16,350 potholes since January. The team from Northeastern believes that number could be reduced to near zero if municipal vehicles are equipped with their system.

The Versatile onboard traffic embedded roaming sensors, or VOTERS, works by placing sensors on a bunch of vehicles (from garbage trucks to taxis) and combines all the data into a report that details roads that are susceptible to potholes. The data collected includes "acoustic waves generated by tires and high frequency impulse radar to detect surface defects, subsurface delamination, corrosion, layer thickness and properties, millimeter-wave radar to determine near-surface properties of pavement, complemented by optical systems."  A van equipped with the system can scan 80 miles of roads per day.

The data is then transferred to crews around the city that can prevent potholes before they affect cars driving on the road. According to the researchers, the system would not be very expensive to implement and could even be used on private cars. The team hopes that catching potholes before they form on the surface can save a lot of money in the long run for cities around the country. Check out the following video  under "Media" below for more information about how the system works.


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The video shows how the VOTERS system works Voterssensorssystem

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