Detection of the road surface quality via smartphone

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TutorDrive – an app to detect street bumps

The main problem of each street is represented mainly by the presence of anomalies on the pavement resulting in a reduction of its efficiency and a greater risk in terms of road safety. These issues are addressed today by the scientific community in a different way than in the past. The first results regarding the use of new technologies applied to the detection of the potholes were obtained from StreetBump project [1] Boston (USA). At the same time in Italy, at the Department of Civil Engineering, University of Calabria, have developed similar methods to control the quality of the road surface [2, 3] and the subsequent detection of critical points [4] through the combined use of most sensors inside the common smartphones. TutorDrive is one of the few examples of self-aware application present Europe. This term identifies a special category of devices able to observe, process and inform; machines equipped with knowledge that will be increasingly present in the Smart City tomorrow. This project consists of a combined smartphone / web-server capable of detecting (by the first), and manage (through the second) anomalies of road surfaces.


Automated Sensing System for Monitoring of Road Surface Quality by Mobile Devices

The monitoring of road surface anomalies, such as potholes, speed bumps etc., has a great importance in order to ensure safety and comfort for all road users, from pedestrian to drivers. The constant mapping of road real conditions also allows adequate infrastructure’s maintenance and management operations, together with a consistent allocation of resources. For this reason, informing road users on infrastructure quality and getting information from the same users have become the new frontier of mobile devices applications for driving assistance and navigation (such as a specific social network for safety road). In the light of the above and thanks to the results obtained from previous studies, this paper focuses on the development of a useful automated sensing system for the monitoring of road surface quality.


A Mobile Application for Road Surface Quality Control: UNIquALroad

The monitoring of road surface conditions plays a key role in ensuring safety and comfort to the various road users, from pedestrians to drivers. Furthermore, having information on infrastructure quality allows road managers to guarantee an adequate maintenance. These data can be given and used at the same time by users, by means of mobile devices, widespread in Italy and in the World. The main aim of this paper is to realize a simple application, which can be installed on several devices (smartphone/tablet), that allows to use sensors piggybacked on them in order to monitor road surface quality. Experimental tests are carried out on urban roads of Calabria (Italy) to validate and test the mobile application. In particular, the accelerometer is used for detecting surface conditions, in terms of potholes and bumps. The Global Positioning System (GPS) is employed to know in real time the location of vehicles and of road surface anomalies. Five different devices were used, all placed in a test vehicle in three different placement conditions. For the validation process, only one device was used, completely bound in an utilitarian car. The algorithm developed to detect road bumps and potholes is based on the analysis of the acceleration signal in terms of high-energy events; three filters are applied on the original signal. Moreover, verification of the rate of false detections and undetected road anomalies is planned, using georeferenced photos that allow the correct localization on the map and the assessment of the correspondence between the elements, detected with the accelerometer, and real road conditions. The results obtained show that our application could be used as an useful automated sensing system for road quality.