This project was inspired by personal experience. As novice drivers, we are not comfortable with swerving the car just to avoid potholes, so the annoyance of hitting a pothole and the possibility of damaging the car suspension is a problem in our day-to-day lives. To solve this issue, we thought about a way to collect pothole data through cars, and then send this information to the related agencies so they know where to conduct repairs.

What it does

This project uses an accelerometer to detect when a car experiences a rapid change in acceleration, indicating that it has hit a pothole. An Arduino with a GPS sensor sends the coordinates of the pothole to a MySQL database. The data can then be retrieved by the government so they can determine the location of the hole.

How we built it

The project is based on an Arduino Uno, an accelerometer, and a GPS sensor. These sensors are connected to the Arduino through a breadboard. A Python program extracts data from the serial port and sends it to the database so the pothole coordinates can be recorded.

Challenges we ran into

We ran into challenges with managing our time. Initially, we intended to use a Qualcomm Dragonboard rather than an Arduino. The Dragonboard took 6 hours to set up; however, due to wifi connectivity issues, we decided to change the hardware for our project. Because there was a limited amount of Wifi Shields available, we instead had to create a Python script that sends the data to the MySQL database manually.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We encountered many challenges with the hardware. As a result, we had to revise our plans and adapt to different hardware several times. In the end, we arrived at a solution that allows our prototype to sufficiently communicate our idea and showcase the functionalities we designed.

What we learned

Matthew and Rebecca learned about MySQL database creation and queries. Esther learned how the accelerometer works, including calibrating the sensor and reducing noise using tolerance. Prerak learned about integrating the various sensors without a Grove-Base shield and extracting data from the GPS sensor.

What's next for Pothole Finder

Our next step is to create a user interface to easily access the data stored in the database. In addition, we would create a map to show which areas of the city have a higher frequency of holes.

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