Road maintenance in England and Wales is underfunded by 55 percent each year due to the extensive damage of potholes. These deep underground cavities are a major factor in causing axle and suspension failure in the United Kingdom, which costs motorists an estimated 2.8 billion pounds every year. If all authorities were given the budgets they need to fix their roads, it would take 12 years to catch up to the current accumulation of work. To improve this problematic situation, Sean Fuller used LabVIEW software and myRIO hardware to develop the myPothole Detector.
MyPothole Detector addresses the problem of quickly identifying and logging potholes. It harnesses the power of myRIO using the built-in accelerometer, which determines whether a pothole has been detected using the z-axis acceleration and signal processing. A GPS module is connected to myRIO via the serial port and logs the current location when a pothole is detected. By connecting myRIO to a PC with Google Earth installed, potholes can be plotted live onto the map. This makes it easier for authorities to quickly see which areas are affected most and allows them to prioritize the fixing-schedule.
Sean Fuller, the developer of myPothole Detector, is currently on a one-year internship at NI. He studies BEng (Hons) Electronic Engineering at the University of Portsmouth and is planning on incorporating LabVIEW in his final year project upon his return. Sean’s engineering creativity combined with the efficiency of the NI platform is a recipe to effectively decrease the detrimental effects of potholes in the United Kingdom.