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Memphis Enlists AI to Battle Potholes

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2019 Ford Focus pothole detection

Across the country, drivers are bracing for pothole season. However, residents of Memphis, Tennessee may be in for a smoother ride this year, thanks to some cutting-edge technology and clever thinking.

Local leadership plans to create a digitized map of the Bluff City’s many roadways. Although the project is still in its earliest stages, when complete, it should help city manages address potholes before they become wheel-swallowing menaces.

Jim Strickland, the mayor of Memphis, has delved into this project with gusto. “Now we all hate potholes. I hate them. You hate them,” the mayor said.

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Developing digital data

To map the city’s many routes, Memphis leaders have partnered with Carahsoft Technology. The project will use artificial intelligence from Google to analyze video footage from MATA bus cameras. Using these videos, AI will determine where potholes exist in the city, and then report them to the appropriate authorities.

Driving with potholes

Even if your city hasn’t adopted high-tech pothole-busting AI, you can still take a few steps to protect your vehicle when the roads turn rough.

  • Give yourself enough room to spot potholes. That often means maintaining a healthy following distance from the car ahead of you, so you’ll have enough time to spot the obstacle and take evasive measures.
  • Approach puddles with caution — you never know if they’re deeper than they appear.
  • If you’re in a tight spot and forced to drive through a pothole, take it slow and easy. Grip the steering wheel tightly to ensure your car doesn’t get jerked to one side.
  • Before hitting rough roads, make sure your tires are inflated properly. Under-inflated tires may not be able to manage the shock from a pothole impact, resulting in damage to the wheel rims or in the worst cases, punctures to the undercarriage of the car.

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Sources: WMCA, Allstate