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Pothole Fingerprints

8 Jan 2017
Progress: Concept

It's said that every country with half an arsenal is poised with its rockets aimed at the satellites of everyone else. The moment a world war breaks out, all communication is kaput.

The most unfortunate outcome of this is that when the rockets blast off, our beloved GPS will no longer function. How will we find our way? Clearly, a more robust navigation system is needed, one that cannot fail just because of a few orbital explosions.

The solution, of course, is Pothole Fingerprints.

This system uses a special transducer to pick up vibrations as you drive along a road. Potholes, speedbumps and different road textures will have varying effects on the suspension system, all of which is recorded into a continuous sound file.

The audio is time-stretched to compensate for measured road speed, then fed into a modified 'Shazam'-like service to identify the melody of the pothole fingerprint.

Some roads may take many minutes, others only a few seconds. Feeding in other basic data (compass, inclination) may improve the results.

This road could be identified in seconds.