Every driver has cringed after hitting a pothole hard, hoping the car wouldn’t steer differently or make any worrisome new sounds.

But what if your own car could report that pothole to the people who fix them?

The University of Cincinnati will work with Honda Motor Co., infrastructure engineering firm Parsons Corp., consulting firm i-Probe and the Ohio Department of Transportation to demonstrate that new cars can evaluate roads.

“We are very excited to be part of this effort to help ODOT in achieving their mission of providing a transportation infrastructure that is safe, accessible, well maintained and positioned for the future.” said Munir Nazzal, professor of civil engineering in UC’s College of Engineering and Applied Science.

“The focus is on the condition of the road, but it applies to other important things from signs to guardrails to barriers to pavement markings,” Nazzal said. “Safety is the priority. If we can reduce the number of accidents, we can save lives.”

“We believe this initiative will be a paradigm shift in road infrastructure asset evaluation, management and maintenance,” said Sue Bai, chief engineer and chief of data business at American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

“Integrating vehicle data into our operations has the potential to be a game-changer when it comes to better serving Ohio drivers and increasing roadway safety for all,” Choudhary said.

The two-year project also helps prepare roads for self-driving cars by identifying improvements such as where pavement markings are needed or refining intersection information on digital maps. Nazzal’s lab has invested years into artificial intelligence systems that can detect deficiencies in infrastructure in real time.

“In this project, we will be testing and validating some of these algorithms as well as assisting in integrating them into Honda’s vehicles,” he said.

Nazzal is director of UC’s Center for Smart, Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure, which uses advanced technology and artificial intelligence to help evaluate and improve the safety and sustainability of infrastructure and to prepare it for the next generation of transportation.

“This project with Honda will be a way for us as an academic institution to help Ohio and other states provide a transportation infrastructure that is safe, accessible, well maintained and positioned for the future,” he said.

Cars today are equipped with a suite of cameras and sensors designed to improve driving safety on the road such as Honda’s Advanced Driver Assistive Systems. But these tools can serve a dual purpose, Nazzal said.

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