Often patents are more about solving a small, annoying problem than really taking on the big issues. Take Hyundai's recent filing for a system to detect speed bumps, for example. Other than teens with a fresh license and ground-scraping supercar drivers, no one really sees spotting these traffic-slowing devices as the bane of their existence. However, the Korean automaker is out to make driving just a little more convenient for everyone with this tech.

The Hyundai patent combines several pieces of currently available technology in a new way. GPS, a camera, and multiple sensors identify an oncoming speed bump, and they then measure its height, width, and curvature. With that info, the software calculates the appropriate speed to drive over the hump. If drivers are going too fast, then a warning message tells them to slow down.

The patent is a straightforward solution to a problem that doesn't seem to really exist for many drivers. However, while Hyundai makes no mention of this in the documents, this tech could be extremely useful for applications in autonomous vehicles. All the system would need is the additional ability to slow itself automatically, and the driverless car could potentially handle a speed bump just as well as a human.


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