back to article Auto auto fleets to dodge British potholes in future

A Highways Agency report suggests that cars of the future could report road potholes automatically, with fleets of auto autos being instructed to swerve around them without human intervention. The Strategic Road Network Initial Report suggested these vehicles could be used to automatically report defects in roads back to …

  1. Khaptain Silver badge
    Trollface

    Meatbag option

    "A Highways Agency report suggests that cars of the future could report road potholes automatically,"

    Are Human Beings no longer capable of producing the same effort ? At no cost other the development of a simple GPS location tracking and Pothole Detected button !!

    And will it actually make the repairs of said Potholes any quicker....

    When everything becomes automatic will there been any need to actually leave your bed ? Maybe in the near "Matrix" style future, we will have plugs in our arses which will deliver the power to all these some much needed automates....

    Call me anything but please don't call me sarcastic... It makes me upset, tightens up my sphincter and I can no longer provide the power to my El Reg auto-reply bot..

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Spare me, please

    Yet another load of answers looking for questions.... Do people get paid to write this crap? Do we need automated reporting of pothole location - just drive down any street and they are right there in front of you.

    And to think we will have automated cars swerving left, right and centre to avoid them?

    Please stop now, my head is hurting. This is not an excuse for IoT and connected technology, it's another excuse for incompetent government agencies and bone idleness of their so called staff and contractors.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meatbag option

      but they automatically report defects in roads back to maintenance contractors.

      It's the best advancement of time saving for the human race I've seen since the invention of the washing machine.

      No longer will people have to report pot holes to the council, think of all the time that will be saved by everyone.

      Then at the council they can file it in the same place they do now and do f*ck all.

      Absolute genius.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: Pothole reporting

        is a total and absolute waste of time.

        I regularly see yellow or red or white paint marking road defects yet bugger all is done about it.

        The defect marking is obviously used by the responsible council/authority to say, 'we know about this' and that is as far as it goes.

        My road is just repairs upon repairs upon repairs. The newest ones are the ones that go to crap the quickest.

        Then there is all that anti-skid surface that flakes off after a couple of years.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Pothole reporting

          "Then there is all that anti-skid surface that flakes off after a couple of years."

          Taking some of the underlying surface with it.

          1. Unep Eurobats
            Childcatcher

            Re: Pothole reporting

            The worry is that the council will think they don't have to fix potholes any more because the connected cars know to avoid them. And they will, slaloming all over the road to the dismay of any non-connected road-user who happens to be in the vicinity.

            1. Muscleguy Silver badge

              Re: Pothole reporting

              That is a good point. I am wont, especially early on Sunday mornings, to go for long runs which necessarily involve long stretches along footpathless country roads. Now I accept that autonomous cars are some years away from being able to navigate same but sometimes tech can move fast.

              In such situations you run facing the traffic though if a car is heading head on to you there is the option of swapping sides rather than risking an ankle injury by taking to the verge. But if as part of that one has to scan the integrity of the road surface ahead, around blind bends and to absolutely know the driver is a robot system then I'm going to need to be accompanied on such runs by a an autonomous drone who looks ahead while I wear smart specs with HUD on them. I shudder to think what such a system will cost me.

              In addition part of my route with the majority of my long runs goes beside an Army training establishment where they do live firing training. Running along the cycle path trailing a drone may well be perceived as a risk and/or violate some vital statute. Maybe the drone could land and fold itself into hat mode?

              There is a big advantage, I could slip into the Zone but still get warned by the approach of a cyclist. I have been rudely shaken out of the Zone on occasion by a frantically ringing bell. Thus far I have managed to leap in the right direction. My hearing is very sensitive to the sound of bike wheels and bike bells. When I'm walking with my wife on the paths I'm ushering her to the side before she is aware of why.

      2. earl grey Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Meatbag option

        " they can file it in the same place they do now"

        So it'll become bog roll. Got it.

    2. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

      What worked in 1967...

      "Are Human Beings no longer capable of producing the same effort ?"

      Four Thousand Holes in Blackburn, Lancashire

      It referred to potholes. Quite appropriately if article's claims were true that the Beatles smoked a lot of pot during the making of Sergeant Pepper.

    3. Chemical Bob

      Re: Call me anything

      OK. you're anything...

    4. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Meatbag option

      Councils are the ones who are supposed to fix pot holes, and yet they don't get any of the road tax.

      1. MOV r0,r0

        Re: Meatbag option

        Councils are the ones who are supposed to fix pot holes, and yet they don't get any of the road tax.

        Correct, in fact nobody has had any of the road tax since 1937

        1. Loud Speaker

          Re: Meatbag option

          In some parts of London, no one has fixed the potholes since 1937.

          And to make matters worse, I was told people have been importing potholes from Ghana to the UK on such a scale that Ghana is suffering a pothole shortage!

    5. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: Meatbag option

      "Are Human Beings no longer capable of producing the same effort ?"

      Capable? Sure. Actually willing to do so? For the most part, absolutely not. Do you really think that all drivers report every pothole they encounter? The vast majority never report anything at all, and even those who do only do so for the worst ones that actually cause serious problems. Having the state of roads automatically monitored and reported on a continuous basis would be a huge improvement on waiting for people to sue when things get bad enough to damage their cars. The main problem is with this part:

      "Are Human Beings no longer capable of producing the same effort ?"

      No, it won't. Road maintenance is the responsibility of local councils, but their budgets are only a small fraction of the amount required to actually maintain roads in a decent state. And indeed, due to sustained under-funding, the last time road budgets hit the news it was reported that even if budgets were increased enough to actually fix things, it would take an average of something like 80 years to actually get it all done.

      Basically, using consumer cars to monitor road conditions isn't a terrible idea in terms of seeing what the problem is, but will do absolutely nothing to actually help fix the problem because that's ultimately just a matter of funding.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Meatbag option

        "even if budgets were increased enough to actually fix things, it would take an average of something like 80 years to actually get it all done."

        Assuming traditional reporting and repair methods(*), yes.

        (*) Potholes reported. Contractor goes out and fixes one pothole per day in each section of road before driving to another section and repeating - that way they get paid the maximum possible for repairs. Travel, setup and teardown times factor heavily into the delay equation.

        I followed a jetpatcher out on trial one day - it did an entire 2 mile stretch of heavily potholed lane in an afternoon and the repairs show no sign of breaking up after more than a year. The previous time this road was patched it took in excess of 3 months, only about half the potholes were filled and they were breaking up within weeks.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Excuse my cynicism...

    ...but I take "The Strategic Road Network Initial Report suggested these vehicles could be used to automatically report defects in roads back to maintenance contractors – as well as warning other connected vehicles to avoid the damaging carriageway flaws." to mean that they won't bother with the expensive former action, and will instead just leave it the cheap latter. The future's bright, the future's - puking furiously as your wondrous autonomous vehicle swerves around an unrepaired pothole every couple of metres.

  4. Wily Veteran
    Coat

    Really?

    Don't know about the UK, but here in Michigan pothole dodging while avoiding other vehicles also dodging potholes is the state sport and expecting them to be repaired after reporting them is the state joke.

    Somehow, I'm haunted by a vision of autonomous cars dodging potholes that strongly resembles a demolition derby or the Dodge-Em ride at the carnival.

    1. Semtex451 Silver badge
      Windows

      What layer does pothole collision avoidance occur upon?

      A-Ha. This can be monetised. Car A and Car B are each approaching adjacent potholes at the same speed. "To increase your priority ($50) please tap here"

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: What layer does pothole collision avoidance occur upon?

        "To increase your priority ($50) please tap here"

        Do they also have a "to ignore the (motor)cyclist in the space you are going to swerve into ($150) please tap here" option? Or is that going to be the default?

        The vehicle lidar may well be able to see the motorbike (which is, after all, a fairly big chunk of metal) but I doubt very much whether a cyclist will give much of a backscatter for the LIDAR unit to see.. And if it hasn't seen the squishy meatbag on wheels, then it'll consider that space available for swerving into.

    2. notowenwilson

      Re: Really?

      I think we're going about this pothole dodging the wrong way. Put active hydraulic suspension on the car and if it detects a road defect it can rapidly extend the suspension, thus launching the car - over - the pothole. No dodging of other traffic necessary.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Road wear and tear.

      In a perfect world that would make sense...

  6. TechnicalBen Silver badge

    Came to see a slide with an actual cloud labelled as [The Cloud]...

    ... was not disappointed.

  7. Swiss Anton

    Reporting != Reparing

    Now if only there was a robot that could automatically (and promptly) repair the pot hole after it had been reported, now that would be progress.

    1. Semtex451 Silver badge

      Re: Reporting != Reparing

      I'd be digging holes and lying in wait, so I could harvest the repairbots for spares to use in my housekeepingbot.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reporting != Reparing

      better still, if the car reporting could do the repairing. And the cherry on top - AT A COST TO SOMEBODY ELSE, SAY... the driver. That would be true advancement for the road system. No, wait, I've got a better one, if the car reporting it did NOT repair it but the driver STILL has to pay. Yes, we're nearing the state of perfection. Looking around... hell, we're ALREADY IN!!! :)

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Reporting != Reparing

      "robot that could automatically (and promptly) repair the pot hole after it had been reported,"

      Or go back to the old system of having teams patrolling and repairing potholes as they find them, rather than relying on reporting systems.

  8. Commswonk Silver badge

    How About...

    A fully autonomous vehicle that goes round finding and filling the sodding potholes by itself, without the dead hand of bureaucracy sitting somewhere in the middle thinking up reasons why potholes are not the priority of the month. Or next month... or next year.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How About...

      Excllent idea, I love the idea of a street-going version of a roomba scooting around the road network filling in as it goes! Have an upvote!

  9. RockBurner

    So, now autonomous cars are going to have built in random swerving? JUST like regular cars!

  10. Giles C

    The biggest problem with potholes is the way they repair them, bunging a bit of tarmac in and levelling it off doesn’t seal the gap.

    Water gets between the patch and the rest of the road. Freezes and they pushes the patch out. Result a few months later it has to be done again.

    Cycling and also owning a car that sits only 60mm of the road (kit car not that exotic) those holes can really ruin your day.

    Better to have a database which flags road x has been patched y times so resurface it properly....

    But smart roads, just stick a microphone at the side and listen for the bang as a car goes though.

    Solution looking for a problem if you ask me

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      "Water gets between the patch and the rest of the road. Freezes and they pushes the patch out. Result a few months later it has to be done again."

      That's a system designed for the job security of repair crews.

      I've seen so many similar examples in my time in industry that it seems to be hard wired into human nature. My favourite was a machine with a lot of microswitches which were constantly being broken by clumsy operators trying to get broken bits out. The maintenance crew soldered the switches in place. When someone tried to introduce switches with little plugs which could be replaced very quickly, amazingly they proved so unreliable they were dropped. Some of the maintenance men were "working" 80 hour weeks with double time on Sunday and time and a half outside office hours.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Solution looking for a problem if you ask me

      The solution is there.... just fix the roads. The problem is the idiots in charge and the ones actually doing the repairs. They seem to have better things to do, like talk on the cell phone, lean on their shovels and watch traffic. Manglement wants lunch, meetings, more money and of course, the benefits and status of "being in charge without doing anything".

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        " They seem to have better things to do,"

        2 people, one jetpatcher:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTteMrQzja8

        They work even better when the patching crew is just sent out to patch all potholes they find on a stretch of road.

        1. Brush

          Jet Patching != Permanent repair, it was designed for temporarily filling pot holes until they could be cut out and hot rolled black top reinstated with tar sealed joints.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            "Jet Patching != Permanent repair"

            True, but they're far more permanent than the crap jobs most brutish councils do (which are also temporary repairs, but rather _more_ temporary).

            Given that it might take a _decade_ or more between a pothole being reported and _permanent_ repairs being made there's a lot of milage in temporary repairs that last for more than 2 weeks.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "The biggest problem with potholes is the way they repair them, bunging a bit of tarmac in and levelling it off doesn’t seal the gap."

      Having seen them in action (and the results of their repairs holding up for a few years), I believe jetpatchers (when operated correctly) solve that issue nicely (and fill most potholes in less than 5 minutes whilst doing a better/more durable job than a roading gang does in 2-3 hours)

      In a lot of cases potholes keep opening up because the roadbed itself is fucked. When Cock lane in Surrey (yes really, it's near Bookham) got redone a couple of years back it was found that the roadbed was utterly waterlogged and what was supposed to be a simple £5k resurfacing job turned into a £250k+++ job as the road had to be completely rebuilt from the foundations up.

      http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/cock-lane-crusader-giant-penis-11729269

      During the rebuild a significant number of roadside drains were uncovered. It seems that contractors have a bad habit of sealing over the gratings when resurfacing the road and they never get uncovered again, which is how the roadbed ended up so waterlogged. The road now has 5 times as many drains as it used to, but no new ones have actually been installed.

      Perhaps the survey vehicles need to run metal detectors and flag when they find a mass at the edge of the road but no grating on the surface - there's also the point that not enough attention is being paid to drains - it's a lot cheaper to keep these flowing than pay out to fix potholes.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
      Facepalm

      "The biggest problem with potholes is the way they repair them, bunging a bit of tarmac in and levelling it off doesn’t seal the gap.

      Water gets between the patch and the rest of the road. Freezes and they pushes the patch out. "

      You can fix that with a covering of tar and chippings to seal over the filling. So - council tars and chips the road, potholes and all. Then council comes along again and fills in the potholes on top of the tar and chip layer.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        covering of tar and chippings to seal

        Like they (used to?[1]) do in France? When they resurface the road, they then cover it with a layer of grit which is (I suspect) designed to be pushed into the road surface by traffic in order to make the surface more durable.

        Which can cause a few buttock-clenching moments on a motorbike when you go round a corner at foreign-biking-holiday speeds[2] only to discover that the road ahead is covered with a 2 CM deep layer of grit..

        Motorbikes and grit really, really don't work together well. Unless you have dirt bike tyres.

        [1] Haven't been to France on a motorbike for about 15 years.

        [2] What was France like? Green and blurry.. After all, their speed limit signs are in MPH right?

      2. Duffy Moon

        Pothole repair

        I like the Indian approach to the problem: pile up a load of plastic rubbish in the pothole and set light to it.

  11. Aitor 1

    Why?

    What is the purpose of this?

    As far as I understand the problem, there is not enough people/resources to fix the potholes, and finding potholes is not the main problem.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Why?

      But have you ever noticed that there some places the potholes are always fixed promptly? Usually around the driving routes of those who have power and influence.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Angel

        Re: Why?

        Usually around the driving routes of those who have power and influence.

        Ley Lines!

        "Winston Smith was not living on a Ley Line. He was not even outer party. All he had was Newspeak."

      2. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

        Re: Why?

        @Mark 85: Usually around the driving routes of those who have power and influence.

        And herein lies an important enhancement of the product: It should be installed only on the vehicles of those who have power and influence. This is essential to reach the goal that a large percentage of reported potholes should be fixed within a specified period of time. Without this enhancement the proposed feature will not be effective.

      3. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: Why?

        But have you ever noticed that there some places the potholes are always fixed promptly? Usually around the driving routes of those who have power and influence.

        Unfortunately far too true:

        A few years back I used to regularly drive past the County Hall in Hertford and doing the same route at the same time every day you tend to come across the same drivers. One of these was pretty much a criminal hazard behind the wheel and every day would pull blindly out of their property (just North of Waterford which is the next village to the North of Hertford) into traffic expecting every other road user to get out of the way or stop. This level of road danger was then repeated on all roundabouts, weaving across lanes onto, around and off each roundabout all the way until they got to their place of work...

        The driver of this vehicle was a senior local councillor, with their own allocated parking space at the front of the County Hall of course. Complaints? All that happened was that miraculously a considerably slower speed limit zone was erected that covered just the entrance to this cretin's property. Apparently it was a danger area due to the number of collisions and near collisions in the area. Almost all caused by one particular driver of course.

        I still have flashbacks when I see cars of the same make, model and colour...

  12. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    Of course, if the government wanted to avoid pollution or monetize this...

    They'd instruct the cars to drive through the potholes, or make you pay an extra $50 a month to enable the optional pothole-avoidance algorithm

    1. The Real Tony Smith

      Re: Of course, if the government wanted to avoid pollution or monetize this...

      "Of course, if the government wanted to avoid pollution or monetize this...

      They'd instruct the cars to drive through the potholes, or make you pay an extra $50 a month to enable the optional pothole-avoidance algorithm"

      No, that's a Microsoft car

  13. Putters

    One little side effects is that the local authority would know about a pothole pretty much as soon as it occurs ... and therefor be liable for any damage it causes. At present, if nobody has bothered to report a hole, the LA is not liable as it doesn't know about it and therefor is not negligent in making a timely repair.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      "At present, if nobody has bothered to report a hole, the LA is not liable as it doesn't know about it and therefor is not negligent in making a timely repair."

      Exactly. Nothing gets done about things that cost you, the taxpayer, money.

      There's an estimated hundred thousand or so prolific criminals that steal to feed their drug habits. They steal anything up to a coupe of hundred thousands worth of stuff each every year, but they are not a problem because the taxpayer pays through house and car insurance. If politicians and police had their pay docked for failing to deal with the problem, it would get fixed.

      As it is, police cuts while demanding that more things be policed just guarantees that crimes that cost the ordinary citizen will continue to attract less attention than ones which impact important people. Like the ones that can buy Range Rovers and simply ignore potholes.

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Devil

        "Like the ones that can buy Range Rovers and simply ignore potholes."

        Ignore potholes? Range Rover drivers slow down to single figures for bloody level crossings. Hitting a pothole in one would probably kill them.

        Supersized Shopping Vehicles. Pah.

  14. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Potholes: Low tech reporting

      The Cock Lane Crusader was around my area, but he was inspired by Wanksy:

      https://www.boredpanda.com/wanksy-penis-pothole-graffiti-manchester-england/

      http://wanksy.mycindr.com/

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/the-filter/11570595/Meet-the-man-using-penises-to-fill-potholes.html

  15. Velv Silver badge
    Coat

    Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads.

  16. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Already happening (sort of)

    There are at least 3 private companies driving the UK's roads on contract for councils which do camera surveying for defects.

    Not that it means they get fixed any faster.

    Whilst automatic reporting from enduser vehicles is likely to be a thing in the future, it'd be nice if Goo and the other streetmappers added this to their cars, along with reporting of clearance boxes for bridges and overhead trees, etc (which a lot of councils let get too low until they start ripping the lids off busses, etc)

  17. DougS Silver badge

    We're less likely to see major potholes with autonomous cars

    What makes a small pothole big is people driving over it constantly. Where I live potholes are common, and even in the summer when freeze/thaw cycles are not an issue you see potholes growing when people keep driving over them and chipping away a bit more and increasing its size.

    Autonomous cars will steer around them, alert the road crews, and the road crews will say "eh, as long as there's room to swerve around it why bother fixing it". And they might be right, why should they be fixed if they can simply be avoided? That would be the meatbag option as well if we were always looking closely at the road ahead, but usually I rely on memory - I have hit a jarring pothole in a certain location a few times so I remember it for the future and pay attention to avoid it when I return.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: We're less likely to see major potholes with autonomous cars

      "What makes a small pothole big is people driving over it constantly."

      Cars don't make many potholes and don't cause them to grow much.

      The prime culprits are HGVs. A single 10 ton truck does around ten thousand times more damage in one pass than a car (road damage is proportional to the 5th power of axle pressure and the 2nd power of speed)

      Better enforcement of keeping HGVs off roads not designed for them would help, but hapless councils have found out the hard way that encouraging people onto public transport can drive transport costs up dramatically because a bus with 40 people on it does thousands of times more damage than 40 cars. There are a bunch of studies about this issue. (This is a good argument for smaller autonomous vehicles doing non-stop runs in the offpeak and entraining them onpeak. It seems the ideal size is about 8 seats)

      At one point I was responsible for overseeing road maintenance contracts in the company I worked for. The contractors would pull all kinds of boneheaded stunts to save time/money which would directly damage the roadbed. One of the most common was grading crap into the roadside ditches, plugging up culverts and forcing water to flow over the road. This could cause £250k damage in a single overnight storm if not caught quickly - and when the road was needed to maintain mountaintop telecommunications kit, having it washed out meant lots of helicopter trips at £1500/hour on top of the roading repairs.

  18. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    THIS IS THE FUTURE!

    Roads decaying to Franco-era spanish levels in spite of all the immigrants hitting town, as practically planeless aircraft carriers circle the globe on diplomatic missions to wreck someone's shit so that the immigrants keep coming so that the economy stays stronk?

    Problem solved: Buy a robobutler so that your expensive deluxe car swerves effortlessly around any hole that might have escaped the nonexistent repair crews. You will yet arrive to your lobbying rendezvous in time, don't keep your parliamentarian waiting!

    Britain 2020 - We have ideas!

  19. Chris G Silver badge

    Internet of Transport

    I don't think auto autos automatically reporting would make any difference, I'm pretty sure the local council here have at least one large pothole on permanent rental.

    It was just outside a bar I pass every morning for about 18 months then the hole suddenly disappeared only to turn up at the next major junction 2 Km down the road, exactly the same shape and depth. I'm certain they had just picked it up and dumped it down again just to look as though they are doing something.

    There are several similar holes that seem to move around the area without any other real work ever being done to the roads, most of them are so worn the surface is like glass.

  20. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "The prime culprits are HGVs. A single 10 ton truck does around ten thousand times more damage in one pass than a car (road damage is proportional to the 5th power of axle pressure and the 2nd power of speed)"

    One local road, only a couple of hundred metres or so long services various sites that attract HGVs including one that's accessed by really big stuff - the sort of thing you see on the motorways with wide load escorts. The road is a mosaic of holes and patches. A while ago they spent a day or two patching some of the holes. It's meaningless. The whole road needs to be dug up and rebuilt from scratch with a structure capable of carrying that traffic. As it's a side road off a B road there's probably a stack of documentation somewhere proving it can't possibly carry traffic that would justify that.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      As it's a side road off a B road

      I forsee a fly-by-night operation to fit some width restriction concrete bollards in the near future..

      (Wasn't me guv. I don't even know how to drill concrete posts into the road[1].. That large pneumatic drill in the back of my car? Oh - that's for diggin up my crocus bulbs in winter. Honest..)

      [1] Direct paraphrase from someone who raised a ticket for a 'missing operating system' error in the DOS/Windows 3.3 days. Her first words to me were (even before I'd taken a look) were "I assure you I don't even know how to delete the DOS directory and system files".. Turned out she was getting "low disk space" warnings and cleaned up stuff that she thought were not essential..

  21. Haku
    Unhappy

    Inventing new ways of reporting problems doesn't mean said problems will get fixed sooner.

    Or ever.

  22. wobbly1

    the biggest problem...

    Isn't the identification of the surface failures but the lack of will and skill in repair . In East Sussex, on line reporting ( iv'e reported many) has not produced either a timely or cost effective repairs. The local civil engineering companies fill the full depth of the holes with tarmacadam, usually cold, from a prepacked 10 Kg plastic bucket and leave the edges of the repairs unsealed . inevitably the repairs fail, usually with in 9 months (but more frequently when next it rains or is icy), and a new repair is paid for; a good cash flow guarantee. Now if we could only invent an AI system that prevents people simultaneously complaining about underfunded infrastructure whilst voting for lower and lower tax regimes...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Erm, the roads the Highways Agency looks after aren't the ones the councils' look after (i.e. the ones with the potholes) - just sayin'

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    report road potholes automatically... to swerve around them

    Genius! And when we get them (...) flying cars at last, they can fly OVER the potholes! Or through them.

  25. OnTheSpecialBus

    The earth isn't flat you know

    Especially on any road in the UK.

    We need to stop thinking two dimensionally to solve potholes forever.

    ELON MUSK,

    Stop trying to get us to Mars,

    just give us the flying cars.

    The new Tesla, with wings.

    /ClaireRayner

    Its more likely than a County Council getting the roads mended because of IOT

  26. tiggity Silver badge

    Swerve Algorithm fail

    I don't think it will work on many minor roads I unfortunately use.

    These are considerably more % pothole than intact road.

    Good luck finding a swerving route that will avoid all the potholes on those..

    After this weeks snow / ice / thaw cycle the % of intact road now eve lower..

    Road will be "fixed" by pointless spray of tar & chippings, and be a suspension wrecker again about 3 weeks afterwards (or sooner depending on the weather)

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Swerve Algorithm fail

      "Road will be "fixed" by pointless spray of tar & chippings"

      The important part about fixing a pothole is that the hole needs to be sealed with tar first to prevent water ingress. If this is not done then everything else is pointless and most contractors don't bother in the first place as the hot tar requirement is too much hassle.

      Even jetpatcher repairs fail quickly if the operator skimps on this step. That's why I said "when done properly" in my first posting about them.

  27. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
    Alert

    Pothole reporting?

    Some of the ones around here, you're lucky to get out of alive to report them!

    In my extensive study of potholes, I've noticed:

    - Concrete roads last quite a long time, but, when they pothole, they pothole badly (tire or rim breakers) and are expensive to fix correctly. Asphalt patches remain only briefly.

    - Quality (or lack thereof) of paving materials and application is a significant cause of "top layer potholes", where the top layer debonds an/or turns to gravel. This occurs when the paving contractor skimps, but is only discovered the next winter, after they have been paid.

    - Poor drainage = recurrent potholes

    - Poor quality roadbed = recurrent potholes.

    I mostly commute by train now, which has different issues.

    // Construction Zone -- Speeding Fines Doubled

  28. Roger Mew

    Mmm wonderful, and how do motorcycles fair, oh sorry they just fall off or into and the auto car system will miss them. The UK has one of the highest vehicle taxation systems in the world and some of the worst potholes. I can therefore only think that ripping the vehicle operator off is logarithmic, rip them off once for car tax and then again for the defective road and then again for going faster than the 20 miles an hour the potholes demand and so on. We pay no car tax in France, have less potholes, and cheaper fuel. Having the vehicle operators pay so much causes everything to go up in price.

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