Self-Aware Roads

Roads are constantly falling apart. That’s just what happens. Sometimes the roads in greatest need of repair are neglected for long periods of time, but we can change that. We can use our collective computing power to help us prioritize which roads need to be fixed first.

The idea is to build a mobile application that records vibrations while you drive, and anonymously tracks your location to help build a crowdsourced map of how bumpy the roads are.

Vibrations due to cracks, uneven pavement, potholes — all recorded by the device’s accelerometer.

Vibrations due to cracks, uneven pavement, potholes — all recorded by the device’s accelerometer.

Given three example vibration datasets, the algorithm (statistical regression, probably, idk I’m not a data scientist) is able to determine which vibrations are road-related and which are anomalies, such as someone fumbling their phone around.

Comparing datasets against one another increases the quality of the roadmap, automatically identifying user errors.

Comparing datasets against one another increases the quality of the roadmap, automatically identifying user errors.

Read about the Law of Large Numbers for a mathematical explanation of the relationship between number of data inputs & accuracy.

Check out the video explanation of this idea, the outline in Workflowy, and feel free to join the discussion on Reddit (link 1link 2) and Twitter