Project

# Title Team Members TA Documents Sponsor
62 Autonomous Pothole Detection and Cataloging for Bikes
Andy Sun
Harshvardhan Bhatia
Jesse Chen
Xinrui Zhu appendix
design_review
final_paper
presentation
proposal
video
video
video
video
video
Title: Autonomous Pothole Detection and Cataloging for Bikers

Link to original idea thread: https://courses.engr.illinois.edu/ece445/pace/view-topic.asp?id=23005

Description:
Potholes are an issue which plague cities all over the country and over the world. While damaging to cars, potholes can also be particularly dangerous, even fatal, for bikers and can lead to millions of dollars in lawsuits for a city if not patched [1].

This product would attach onto a bike's handlebars and utilize both computer vision techniques and accelerometer/ultrasonic sensor data to detect potholes and automatically record their location (via GPS) to a database that can be used by cities to determine problem areas. In addition, there would a button that a biker could press to add a pothole if it isn't automatically detected. There would also be a local copy of the database on the device which would enable the device to alert the user if they were approaching an area with potholes reported. An armband that the user wears would issue both a haptic and hearable alert.

Current embedded computer vision techniques have been tested at around 70-80% accuracy in broad daylight conditions [2], therefore we cannot entirely rely upon them. However, it does provide a means of cataloging potholes that bikers do not run over and can even serve as a an early warning system if we are able to detect a pothole early enough. The accelerometer and ultrasonic sensors can serve to catalogue potholes at night and hard-to-see potholes during the day, and in general have much better accuracy. In addition, we can try to catalogue the potholes based upon their severity, which we would estimate based upon our sensor data. We may need to have two MCU's: one dedicated for image processing and the another handling everything else.

There are somewhat similar products out there for cars (no commercial products from what I can tell, only devices created for research),, but no such products for bikes and bike paths. A pothole can be much more devastating for a biker than for a vehicle driver, so we believe this is a good problem to focus on.

Links
[1] https://www.bicycling.com/news/when-cyclists-sue-the-city
[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4701334/

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"Engineering is all about solving real life problems and using the solutions to improve the lives of others. ECE 445 allows you to actually delve deeper into what this really means by providing students the chance to undergo the engineering design process. This requires taking all of the theoretical knowledge, lab experiences, and ultimately, everything that you have ever learned in life, and applying it to your project. Though, there is structure to the course and deadlines in place to measure your team's progress, the actual design, implementation, and success of your project is all determined by you. Unlike any other course that I have taken, I've gained an appreciation for the utilization and benefits of external resources, unforeseen scheduling delays, delegating tasks, and most importantly, teamwork. I consider ECE 445 to be a crash course into real life engineering and a guide to become a successful engineer." -- Lauren White