They're plaguing roads across the area as they continue to pop up and grow.
But a new technology being developed at UB could make potholes a thing of the past.
It's called ePave. Tiny sensors embedded in the pavement continuously monitor road conditions, including moisture, temperature and pressure. That will allow researchers to predict which areas are most susceptible to potholes and other hazards, like traffic and crashes. Each sensor covers more than 160 square feet of pavement, all without a battery.
"It can harvest the powers from the ground when a car went through and collect the pressures to power itself. It can dramatically reduce the dimension, cost, and also it reduces the cost for maintenance," said Wenyao Xu, PhD, a UB Computer Science and Engineering assistant professor.
Right now the team, which consists of Xu, two UB students and five students and a professor from a Chinese university, is testing the sensors' durability. They hope the lifespan will be 10 to 20 years.
ePave by the Numbers:
- 1 sensor = size of a quarter
- 10-20 year lifespan
- 1 sensor collects 160 square feet of pavement data
- Withstands temperatures from -40 to 200 degrees Celsius
- Commercially available within 2 years
- Cost per sensor: $50
In the meantime, if you see a pothole on a state road, you can call 1-800-pothole. If it's in the city of Buffalo, call 311.