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We (Almost) Have the Technology to Predict Potholes

Researchers in the U.K. are developing software that would allow cities to identify damaged roadways earlier.  
A vehicle drives over a pothole on NW 23rd Street in downtown Portland, Oregon.
A vehicle drives over a pothole on NW 23rd Street in downtown Portland, Oregon. AP Photo/Don Ryan

As many of us have no doubt recently been reminded, these post-winter weeks can wreak havoc on road surfaces. As the thaw comes, so too do the potholes. Often, drivers are left with the costs for repairs after running over particularly nasty potholes, while city authorities spend big money fixing them. But what if you could find potholes before they even form?

Researchers at Nottingham Trent University in the U.K. are working to develop new technology that would do just that: monitor the surface of roads for underlying damage that may develop into a pothole if left unattended.