Google’s Patent Will Enhance Cars with “Pothole Radars”

Google’s Patent Will Enhance Cars with “Pothole Radars” 1 photo
There are several virtual communities that notify fellow drivers of dangerous roads online, with Waze being one of the biggest that we can think of. But that apparently is not stopping Google from planning their next step long before any other competitor is suspecting something. This patent could enhance cars with what we’d like to call pothole radars.
Before anything else, we all need to agree on the fact that a patent is not necessarily a product that always gets into production. Google could just subscribe this patent as a measure of prevention, it could be the IT giant’s way to save ideas for the future. But let us look closer and try to understand what it does.

According to the patent, quoted by Autoblog, we are looking at systems and methods for monitoring vehicle sensors to determine and report road quality. How? Using a communication device that identifies the vehicle’s location on the road (a GPS) and appropriate mapping software.

The document’s description claims monitoring road quality may be achieved by adding a sensor to shocks, by use of a vertical displacement sensor present on the head unit. Also, various combinations of sensors may be employed.

The system is using common principles. The signals from the sensors are monitored by the head unit and analyzed to judge how bad the road is, and it does that by looking into the amount of vertical vibration that is encountered. Everything is uploaded to a central database where fellow motorists could eventually access. It’s an advanced Waze app if you like, but it could turn out to be quite useful for another one of Google’s big projects.

Yep, we’re thinking of the whole self-driving car madness. Let us not forget, the autonomous vehicles the IT giant is currently testing on public roads may drive themselves, but that doesn’t mean they are not affected by external factors. Potholes would not just disturb the passenger’s state of mind, but it may also affect the vehicle’s integrity over long periods of use.

Will Google actually use this patent? Most likely yes. But if we were to bet, we’d put our money on the company’s self-driving cars, that’s where they will probably use it first.
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