Inspiration: Why are we doing this
Bad road infrastructure can lead to reduced road safety. One of the major problems we see on Indian roads is potholes. Increased traffic, blocked lanes, injuries, and even deaths; all of these issues are linked to potholes and bad roads in a major way. Bad roads resulted in nearly 10,000 deaths last year in India. Nearly 3,000 of these deaths were because of potholes.
We firmly believe in the philosophy, that all of the biggest problems in our world can be solved using technology and innovation. We intend to do just that by putting the power to change our roads in everyone's hands!
Our app lets anyone with a smartphone track potholes in their city. The technology we have used here is something that is accessible to everyone and this means that anyone can contribute to this effort simply by using this app and helping us collect data.
When nearly all the potholes in a city are pinpointed on a map, it becomes very easy for civic authorities to focus their efforts on stretches of roads which are more widely affected than others. It also serves as a reference for the city residents who are demanding more action by the civic authorities.
The data we will collect is going to be used for more than just tracking potholes. It will enable us to use machine learning to better classify the aberrations we detect on roads, analyse driver behaviour and more. We will discuss this in further detail below.
How Can We Track Potholes?
Enter our pothole detection app!
The app is meant to be used while driving, or travelling in a vehicle. By using data from your phone's accelerometer and gyroscope, the app can detect when the vehicle travels over a pothole. Subsequently, the location of the pothole is uploaded to the cloud, where, by aggregating data from multiple users, precise locations of potholes all across the city can be mapped.
The app also lets you view all the mapped potholes in the city, letting you drive safer, and enjoy your drive more. The data of mapped potholes can further serve as a reference to urban planners and civic authorities to pinpoint which stretches of road should be repaired on a priority basis, thus greatly improving road safety in the city.
More than 90 percent of all smartphones in India run on Android. Keeping this in mind, our app is built for the Android platform to ensure it is accessible to everyone. We store user submitted data in the cloud to better analyse the collected content. We have integrated the app with Google Maps to let you see the location of each detected pothole in your city.
In order to improve accessibility, our app is bilingual. Keeping in mind that not every smartphone user in India is comfortable with English, our app supports Hindi. The app will automatically switch to Hindi if your smartphone's default language is Hindi.
We value user privacy. We will be only be collecting data that users have chosen to share with us. This includes GPS location, as well as data from your phone's accelerometer and gyroscope.
The data we collect will help us detect potholes on roads and it will also let us do several other things like:
- Train machine learning models that will help us correctly classify a bump as a pothole or a patch of bad road. We will publish these results online.
- Analyse driver behaviour to detect bad driving habits and helping you correct them.
- Analyse your car's route and give you feedback on how you can get the best out of your car and the route in terms of fuel efficiency and time spent on the road.
The Way Forward
Detecting potholes is only the first step in ensuring our infrastructure is in good condition. Civic authorities must use the data to schedule repairs. A future feature can be allowing the municipal authorities to mark potholes as
closed in the app itself. This has great potential to permanently transform the infrastructure of roads, as authorities will try to close more and more potholes in order to win public approval, which will result in the end goal that the majority of roads in the city are completely pothole free.