• Follow us


A Windshield-Mounted Cure for the Common Pothole

When it comes to infrastructure woes, potholes are like the common cold. They’re not gonna kill you, but they’re seemingly impossible to avoid, and when they strike they make you miserable. Along with being one of the main ways kids in backseats learn to curse, these road-pocking craters cost drivers serious cash: AAA found that in 2016, close to 30 million drivers needed post-pothole repairs done, some jobs costing up to $1,000.

The latest idea for stamping out this scourge comes from CarVi, a Silicon Valley–based company that sells aftermarket safety systems. Its windshield-mounted device, which resembles a smoke detector, uses a camera to watch the road and beeps when the driver is wandering out of his lane or about to smack into the car up ahead. It also compiles data about driver behavior, like how badly they tailgate slowpokes on the highway. You can buy one for $299, plus between $19 and $35 per month (depending on data usage), but most CarVi customers are fleet operators looking to keep their drivers and vehicles out of danger. The gadget is on nearly 60,000 vehicles around the world.1

Now, CarVi is planning an over-the-air software update that will teach all those cameras to identify potholes. It expects to share the compiled results with local governments (it’s not sure yet how those relationships will work), making it easier for cities to know how to allocate their street-fixing resources.

CarVi's windshield-mounted gadget watches the road ahead, serving as an aftermarket active safety system. Now, it's going to be on the lookout for potholes, too.


Many tech-savvy folk have approached this problem before. The mapping company HERE collects road quality data from its HD mapping vehicles in 52 countries. The smaller cartography outfit Lvl5 has produced crowdsourced maps showing pavement quality. Waze lets users report potholes. Houston has an app called Pothole Tracker that people can use to report the devils. Google has patented a pothole-detection system. Somebody thinks Blockchain can help.

While all of these “solutions” spot potholes rather than fill them, more data can help cities struggling to smooth their roads. “It depends on what they do with it,” says Lucius Riccio. A former head of New York City’s Department of Transportation who now teaches data analytics at Columbia University, Riccio has been dubbed “Professor Pothole” by The New Yorker for his creation of a formula that predicts where the things will appear. (He balances his craving for hard data by sorting roads into “jolties,” “wavies,” and “smoothies.”)

Lots of tech players are looking at potholes, including HERE Technologies, which uses its mapping vehicles to track road quality, among other things.

HERE Technologies

A more detailed, up-to-date understanding of where the problems are is definitely a good thing. But, Riccio says, a better use of this sort of data would be to understand where potholes are likely to appear, and do preventative maintenance before the pain hits. You can do that by looking for cracks, or seams in the pavement left by construction jobs. You can also watch for “deflection,” when the pavement flexes underneath a vehicle, a sign that it’s not entirely solid. (That’s something CarVi’s tech could someday do, says Dinesh C, its chief creative officer.)

Of course, even that kind of predictive data is only worth having if American governments are willing to put the resources into maintaining quality roads. In recent decades, our track record has been not so hot, Riccio says. The latest report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers gives American infrastructure overall a D+, with a D for roads.

And like with the common cold, knowing when you’ve got a pothole isn’t all that hard. It’s finding the cure that takes the work.

1Story updated at 13:00 ET on Wednesday, January 30 to add details about CarVi pricing.

More Great WIRED StoriesAmerica needs way, way more EV charging stationsHave phones become boring? They’re about to get weirdThe ‘mortal danger’ of China’s push into AIThe Oscar nods prove we're in a new age of documentariesNest cams hijacked for PewDiePie and North Korea pranks👀 Looking for the latest gadgets? Check out our picks, gift guides, and best deals all year round📩 Hungry for even more deep dives on your next favorite topic? Sign up for the Backchannel newsletterRead More

Leave A Comment

More News


Why'd the Polar Vortex Cancel So Many Flights? 2019-01-31 20:39:48Freezing temperatures may not bother airplanes, but they are no good for the people on the ground who make them fly.

NYC Now Knows More Than Ever About Your 2019-01-31 18:18:27The city has an unusual amount of insight into what ride-hail companies do on its streets, and it uses the info to plan for the future.

Tesla Moves to Build the Model Y After 2019-01-30 20:03:03Elon Musk’s car company just announced its second profitable quarter in a row, but keeping the momentum going requires more focus on costs, and

Lyft Sues New York Over Driver Minimum Wage 2019-01-30 19:06:59The ride-hail company says the new rules, set to roll out Friday, would advantage the market leader—Uber.

CarVi Wants to Help Cure the Common Pothole 2019-01-30 09:00:00It would update its windshield-mounted devices to identify the scourges, then share the info with local governments.

Why Electric Cars Struggle in the Cold—and How 2019-01-30 07:00:00Cold weather is no fun for battery-powered cars, but experienced owners have a few tips for getting by when the mercury drops.

Mercedes’ EQC SUV Makes Everyday Electric Elite 2019-01-29 09:00:00With some clever tricks and flair-free styling, Mercedes sets off down the battery-powered path.

The Need for Carbon Fiber Could Ground the 2019-01-29 08:00:00The many companies racing to launch air taxis face the gnarliness of building aircraft from the lightweight but finicky material.

Los Angeles and Via Hook Up to Offer 2019-01-28 13:30:00The city and ride-share company are trialling a new service meant to get more people onto public transit.

Uber Wants Self-Driving Scooters and More Car News 2019-01-27 09:00:00Plus: Making public transit work better for women, the government shutdown messes with air traffic control, and more.

A 'Multicultural Toilet' and Other Innovations to Fix 2019-01-26 08:00:00This year's Crystal Cabin nominees offer new ways to make the most of precious space.

Ending the Government Shutdown Won't Fix Flight Delays 2019-01-25 18:45:10The shutdown will have longterm effects, likely pushing aging air traffic controllers to retire and slowing the training of their replacements.

Automotive news - from

Electrified car sales in Romania up 65% in 2018 2019-02-08 11:01:00The number of electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars sold last year in Romania was 4,572, up 65.7% compared to 2017, according to statistics fr

Daimler starts production of new gearbox in Romania 2019-02-08 09:12:00Daimler has started production of a new automatic gearbox type at its factory in Sebes, central Romania.

Paris open to reducing Renault stake in Nissan 2019-02-08 06:41:00The French government has informed Tokyo that it is willing to consider reducing Renault's stake in Nissan Motor as part of a broader review of the c

Daimler eyes closer ties with Geely 2019-02-08 06:17:00Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche has said the carmaker was in talks about deepening cooperation with Volvo Cars and London Taxis parent Geely, though German

CATL to supply batteries for new Honda EV 2019-02-08 05:40:00Honda Motor has signed a new partnership agreement with Chinese electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) to s

Tenneco appoints Denise Gray to board 2019-02-08 05:36:00Tenneco has appointed Denise Gray to its board of directors effective 1 March.

Skoda invests in developing EV infrastructure 2019-02-08 05:33:00Skoda is carrying out tests using more than 300 charging points to optimise charging infrastructure and charging times ahead of its EV launc

Navya and Insavalor open academy to develop AV 2019-02-08 05:25:00Navya and Insavalor, a subsidiary of Insa Lyon Research and Development have opened the Navya Academy by Insavalor to offer a range of training course

Russia growth stalls to 0.6% as VAT rise 2019-02-08 04:58:00Russia's remarkable run of surging sales came to something of a halt in January with a slender rise of just 0.6%.

Autoliv pays tribute to founder Lennart Lindblad 2019-02-08 03:59:00Autoliv has paid tribute to founder, Lennarat Lindblad, who has died aged 89.

PSA to acquire TravelCar 2019-02-08 03:52:00PSA says it is acquiring TravelCar, offering parking and car rental solutions two years after its equity investment in the start-up.

EC green lights Stena and Glovis joint venture 2019-02-08 03:47:00European Commission (EC) officials have approved, through the EU Merger Regulation, the creation of a joint venture by Stena Rederi of Sweden, part of

Motor Trend

Limited Edition 2020 Alfa Rome 4C Spider Italia 2019-02-08 11:30:34FCA rolled out a limited-build 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Italia at the Chicago auto show. Each of the beautiful mid-engine two-seaters will be built a

Mopar Makes the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty Look 2019-02-08 09:30:40Let there be LED off-road lights! Mopar revealed over 170 new products for the all-new 2019 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty at this year’s Chicago auto show

Celebrity Drive: Russell Holmes of “Garage Rehab” 2019-02-08 04:00:57Quick Stats: Russell Holmes, Discovery’s “Garage Rehab” Daily Driver: 2015 Ram 1500 (Russell’s rating: 11 on a scale of 1 to 1

New Special Edition Chiron Celebrates 110 Years of 2019-02-07 21:00:51Happy 110th, Bugatti—you don’t look a decade over 70. The France-based, German-owned brand originally founded by an Italian is celebrating

Mazda Miata Celebrates 30th Anniversary With Orange Special 2019-02-07 18:45:23The much-anticipated 30th Anniversary version of the delightful Mazda MX-5 Miata is here. Every example will be painted Racing Orange and feature oran

2020 Range Rover Evoque Starts at $43,645 2019-02-07 17:15:49The 2020 Range Rover Evoque broke cover late last year in England, and us Yanks finally got a peek at the U.S.-spec version when it rolled o

Ford Spending Big to Make New Explorer, Lincoln 2019-02-07 15:15:33Ford is investing $1 billion at its Chicago assembly and stamping plants to make the next-generation 2020 Ford Explorer, 2020 Lincoln Aviator, and the

FCA Still Deciding on Midsize Ram Pickup Truck 2019-02-07 14:45:10Fiat Chrysler has released its full-year financial results for 2018. Although the results were positive, some analysts are worried FCA won’t ach

Ford vs. Chevrolet vs. Ram: Heavy-Duty Truck Prioritizer 2019-02-07 14:37:55Answering these eight simple questions can help you determine which of the new heavy-duty trucks is the best fit for you. Read about the new 2019 Ram

2020 Nissan Rogue Sport Gets Fresh Exterior Tweaks, 2019-02-07 14:30:16At the Chicago Auto Show, Nissan took the wraps off the 2020 Rogue Sport, which now comes standard with a full suite of active driver aids. Called Saf

Ram 1500 Multifunction Tailgate Brings Barn Doors to 2019-02-06 00:01:13The tailgate wars are on. On the heels of GMC introducing its MultiPro tailgate for the 2019 Sierra 1500, Ram is now offering a trick Multifunction Ta

2020 Jeep Gladiator Set to Compete in King 2019-02-05 18:45:49It’s hard to overstate how excited we are to drive the 2020 Jeep Gladiator. It is, after all, the Wrangler-based pickup truck we’ve b

Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.