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Potholes? Self-Powered Wireless Sensors Embedded in Roads Could Spot Them

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A pothole.

The ePave project seeks to set up networks of self-powered wireless sensors under roadways to offer regular updates on road conditions.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Researchers at the University at Buffalo (UB) and Chang'an University in China are developing ePave, a project to set up networks of self-powered wireless sensors under roadways to provide regular updates on road conditions to transportation planners, drivers with connected cars, and others.

"We want to detect road faults before they happen, and ultimately help motorists avoid traffic accidents due to damaged roads," says UB professor Wenyao Xu.

The project seeks to harness piezoelectricity from the mechanical stress that vehicles put on roads to power the system. Sensors two to three centimeters below the surface can tap into and store sufficient power to regularly detect moisture, pressure, and other information, which can be transmitted every 10 minutes to relay stations up to 1,000 feet away.

These stations could be built into street lights or similar structures, and the data could then be sent to a network via underground cables, and shared with various parties.

From UB News Center
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