Potholes are incredibly annoying and can do serious damage to your vehicle's wheels and suspension. Unfortunately, unless you know an area well, there isn't a great way to predict their location until the divot is right in front of you. Plus, in many parts of the country, these annoyances can go unrepaired for months at a time, especially during the winter. Google is aiming to fix the problem with a patent on a surprisingly simple solution to create a roving fleet of pothole reporters.

The system combines a GPS-equipped infotainment system and a vertical movement sensor somewhere on the vehicle. When a driver hits a pothole, the navigation system notes the location and sends the info into the cloud. Based on the amount of vibration on a given street, Google's servers can create a continuously upgrading database of the average road quality and can divert drivers around particularly bad sections when deciding on a route.

While patenting an idea doesn't necessarily mean that it hits the road, this system seems massively beneficial to all drivers. Plus, the concept doesn't seem too hard to implement, either. Google's use for this tech appears obvious, too. Given the company's fleet of autonomous vehicles, being able to route passengers around rough streets could be an especially welcome feature. The tech could go part of the way towards keeping folks in driverless cars from getting motion sickness.


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