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Add road quality information to Google Maps

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jnikola Nov 05, 2022
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Use existing technologies to scan, monitor and implement road quality information in Google Maps and navigation.
  • Technology to gather information is already here
  • Roads sometimes drastically differ in quality and drivers do not know that
  • It's a safety feature to know what to expect on the road
  • It would be great if routes are planned according to the road quality, too
  • Some holes on the road are not fixed for years
  • It could be fun to know the general road quality of the municipality, country, etc.
How would it work?
Gathering information
This information could primarily be gathered by official Google cars that scan roads for street view. Since they can already determine road surface using lasers in front of the vehicle (to record the actual dimensions of the space being photographed) or scan in 3D in 360 degrees using top-notch lidar sensors, the algorithm processing the data could be optimized to recognize road bumps and holes that could affect driving experience. If this technology is combined with gyroscopes or sensors,
Additionally, this information could be confirmed or continuously monitored by processing information from vehicles connected to Internet (tire pressure sensors, accelerometers, cameras, ...) or mobilephone applications equipped with acceleration vibration detecting sensors . Proposed work has already been done for the same purpose and, "although the estimation might not be as accurate as modern profilers, it still may be very useful for cost saving and as an indicator for continuous monitoring" .
Using the info for route planning
If implemented in Google Maps, users could get the best route option with road quality data implemented into it. Yes, users' signals for traffic prediction could give us a hint where the road is better or worse, but if you drive an expensive sports car, you would value detailed information about road quality to be implemented into choosing the best route.
Using the info for road damage informing and fixing
If this feature was made available on Google Maps, users could take a photo of a road or pavement damage and upload it to server to confirm the damage is still there.
Using the information for "special roads" registration
Some roads are accessible only with terrain vehicles (roads to distant beaches, mountain roads). These roads are often marked into Google Maps, but no information if you can pass or no is available. By using smartphones or vehicle sensors, these roads could be monitored for cleareance or condition, too.
Using the information for fun
Additionally, countries or municipalities could "compete" which one has the best road quality. The same could be used to plan your perfect next road trip, vehicle testing or new location for rally racing.
  • Do you have any other ideas?
  • Do you know if these technologies are already implemented into some Maps?
  • How could we make it even better?







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General comments

Povilas S
Povilas S2 years ago
Google already does that to an extent, it takes into account the type of road when planning the route, e.g gravel road vs national road vs highway. But to include the precise quality measure (holes, cracks, etc) would be an improvement. In fact, I'm not sure that it doesn't do the latter too in silent mode (part of the algorithm), as you said, the means to obtain the information are already available, but even if it does, there's no information provided for the users, so that's another unfulfilled improvement.
One potential complication with this is roads being fixed and getting worn off again quite frequently. This is especially true for some of the old, low-quality roads. So the info would have to be frequently updated.
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jnikola2 years ago
Povilas S Yes, I saw that it differs gravel roads from national roads and highways. However, it will never guide you on a gravel road, because no Google vehicle ever went there. That's a pity because some gravel roads can be great shortcuts and save you a lot of time. I am also not sure if that is a part of the algorithm but would be great if we could see it.
With the problem you highlighted in the second paragraph I tried to cope in the whole text by mentioning technologies (except Google cars) that could be used to continuously monitor road quality and give fast and statistically significant information on the changes in road quality. If an accelerometer and other technologies in your car or a smartphone detect a bump every day and suddenly, that bump is not detected by 1000 cars that are passing there, it could mean that it got fixed. It could also mean that cars are avoiding it. In that case, the information would mainly rely on the Google car logs, electric cars with cameras or passenger inputs (photos, videos, comments).
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Povilas S
Povilas S2 years ago
J. Nikola Well, it does guide you on gravel roads. I've experienced that myself. I'm not sure if Google vehicles don't go on gravel roads, but if they don't that doesn't mean that the navigation won't guide you through there, it simply means you won't have Google street view available for that road.
Regarding the second paragraph - yes and also, it will depend a lot on the quality of the car, its chassis, shock absorbers, etc.
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