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When a vehicle hits a pothole, a fair amount of energy must be transmitted from the vehicle to the ground surrounding the offending crater.
Using an appropriately spaced array of vibration sensors buried below the road bed, the location of the pothole could be determined by triangulation using
the timing of the energy imparting "event" as sensed by three or more proximate sensors. Pothole formation can be discriminated from "noise" by various characterstics, such as amplitude of the detected event and whether or not an event is triangulated to the same location repeatedly.
I haven't worked out the physical connection of the sensors but they would be interfaced to a computer located in a nearby traffic signal control box. The pothole severity/location would be calculated and the information would be transmitted back to the appropriate roadway maintenance authorities via the network that is already in place to communicate with traffic signals. When an acceptable pothole size threshold has been exceeded, a crew would be dispatched to repair the damaged road.
Effective use of the repair crews and equipment could include the pre-emptive repair of less severe road damage also detected near or en route to the car-swallowing crater in question.
Similar, "detect potholes using whatever means are best at the time. Then, on a Heads up Display overlay them...to make you avoid it... Drivers with GPSs could add a pothole report to a central server..." [phoenix, May 23 2002, last modified Oct 05 2004]
Similar. "...if the active suspension were coupled with a GPS receiver and a memory, it could remember where all the bumps are on your route..." [phoenix, May 23 2002, last modified Oct 05 2004]
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||Yes, this is easily complicated enough for the Heath Family Robinson... if only it had pulleys as well...