Potholes aren't just ugly to look at, they do a lot of harm as well: damaging car suspension, causing accidents and piling up traffic. Google gets this, and now, it wants to solve the problem using GPS tracking and mapping.
According to a patent Google filed last week, it's trying to find the best way to use its GPS navigation system to detect potholes and other defects in road quality in order to sneak around them and smoothen the ride (in all senses of the word).
As detailed by the patent, this navigation system would automatically monitor and report on road disruptions by using sensors on cars to detect vibrations on the suspension. According to the language in the patent, if a vehicle goes through a particularly rough piece of terrain, the program can then feed this data to a "central server for distribution in road quality reports and improve driving directions in mapping software."
This wouldn't be difficult to implement, either. Most vehicles already come equipped with GPS-based navigation — all that's needed is a sensor. Theoretically, if hundreds of thousands of vehicles navigating the same terrain were able to accrue this data, the mapping software would become incredibly intricate. This would allow Google Maps to provide a quicker and more accurate route to any given destination.