UB professor creates sensor that can predict potholes

Posted at 11:52 AM, Apr 06, 2018

The University at Buffalo Department of Computer Science and Engineering is working to make it easier for you to spot potholes. 

UB professors and researchers is creating what they call ePave. It’s a network of self-powered wireless sensors. They would lay under the road surface, providing regular updates on road conditions to transportation planners, drivers with connected cars and other parties. 

"We want to detect road faults before they happen, and ultimately help motorists avoid traffic accidents due to damaged roads,” Assistant Professor, Dr. Wenyao Xu said. 

This would be similar to the technology used at intersections that changes traffic lights’ colors. The coin size prototype sensor would also give data on the moisture and stress levels of the pavement, which could be indicators for potential potholes. 

"It means saving a lot of man power and budget with highway and road departments. Most importantly it would remove life threats to everyone," Xu said. 

Life threats such as preventing drivers from swerving to miss a pothole. ePave is a self-charing device. It absorbs the pressure from the weight of vehicles and recharge. It has about a 10-20 years lifespan. It only cost about $50 to build each sensor. 

China is testing ePave already, before it hits the market. UB is in the final phase of research. Engineers expect it to hit the market within the next two to three years. 

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