Latest Podcast



Featured Articles

Friday, July 25, 2014

Monitoring road quality with a standard smartphone and the Roadroid app

Resurfacing repairs required? There's an app...

Mark Bridge writes:

In the past five years, what started as an advertising message - “there’s an app for that” - has become a challenge to developers. It’s become a registered trademark. It’s become part of 21st century culture. And it’s become an totem for journalists to pin their most outrageous app-based stories to.

Worried your partner might be having an affair? Obsessed with counting calories? Teaching children the A to Z of bitcoin? Yes, there’s an app for that… and that… and that.

Roadroid doesn’t need the attention-grabbing headlines. It’s an automated road monitoring app that is gaining popularity for its simplicity and its accuracy. It’s winning awards, too. From Afghanistan to New Zealand, it’s been proven to deliver results that would otherwise require a vehicle bristling with laser sensors and mapping technology. Yet Roadroid happily runs on a stock Samsung Galaxy SII smartphone. All you need is the app and an in-car mounting bracket.

The sensors in a modern smartphone usually just work out which way up your phone is being held - or which way you’re heading. Roadroid uses them to track and rate every bump in the road.

Road smoothness is evaluated using a formal standard: the International Roughness Index (IRI). Roadroid assesses the road constantly using the accelerometers and GPS location within a smartphone, estimates the IRI and stores its readings on the phone. At the end of a journey, the readings are sent over the internet to a database that's controlled by the organisation collecting the data; usually a government department or local authority. These results can then be displayed on a map or within data management software.

I met Roadroid founder Lars Forslöf at a networking event during Mobile World Congress last year - and was immediately struck by the potential for his app. Instead of paying for expensive surveys, a local council could equip one of its delivery or collection vehicles with a Roadroid-powered smartphone to monitor surface conditions every day. Crowd-sourced reports could warn anyone with a bicycle or motorbike about potentially dangerous road conditions. Survey costs and accident rates could both be cut. Imagine the amount of data - and the subsequent insight - that could be acquired through a partnership with a taxi company or delivery firm.

According to Lars, the estimated IRI (eIRI) from a standard Roadroid set-up has around 80% of the accuracy of a laser-equipped vehicle. However, a specially-tuned Roadroid installation can calculate the IRI to within 90%.

Although Roadroid is usually only available to interested organisations, Lars has enabled me to use Roadroid in my own car for the past couple of months.

Image

What’s the process like? I clip the phone into my hands-free holder and press the ‘fitting adjustment’ button. An on-screen display then helps me check the phone is mounted vertically to ensure the most accurate reading. After that, I press the ‘start’ button and set off on my journey. A coloured bar shows how smooth (or rough) the road is. Photos of my location can be taken with a single tap of the app - and potholes I manage to avoid can be added manually. I’ve also tried to play tricks on it - braking suddenly or accelerating sharply - and it’s not been fooled. When I’ve finished driving, I connect to WiFi and upload my report.

Image

Driving round the village where I live has revealed that 9.2% per cent of local roads are rated as unsatisfactory or poor, according to the app, while 76.1% show as good. A couple of roads were as low as 38% good. Of course, that's not every single road - only those I've driven along - but I've covered most of the larger ones in the past few weeks. Lars reckons we should expect roads in towns and cities to be rated as at least 90% good, while motorways and major roads should reach 97.5%.

But as far as I’m concerned, Roadroid isn’t meant for criticising road maintenance. The real benefit is the potential for improvement. Roadroid offers local authorities an opportunity to identify potholes quickly and cheaply without investing in specialist equipment. As a result, the risk of accidents or vehicle damage can also be reduced, which means the local council could make even more financial savings. All for the price of a mid-range smartphone.

Crowd-sourcing public versions of Roadroid are expected for Android and Apple iOS by the end of 2014. More information about Roadroid can be found online at roadroid.com or via the @roadroid Twitter account.
Print
Author: The Fonecast
2 Comments
Rate this article:
No rating

2 comments on article "Monitoring road quality with a standard smartphone and the Roadroid app"

2
0
Avatar image

Joanès Dorcély

9/11/2014 2:39 PM

How can I get the Roadroid and how much it cost?


0
0
Avatar image

The Fonecast

9/16/2014 10:20 PM

Roadroid is currently in a closed beta but is expected to have a public release later this year. Contact details for the company are at http://roadroid.se/Home/About

Leave a comment

This form collects your name, email, IP address and content so that we can keep track of the comments placed on the website. For more info check our Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use where you will get more info on where, how and why we store your data.
Add comment

Opinion Articles

Is Android losing its impact for Google?

Mark Bridge writes:

Recent figures released by ABI Research have prompted the market intelligence company to ask whether Google is losing control of the Android ecosystem.

At first glance, Android dominated smartphone shipments for the final quarter of 2013. ABI Research says 77% of the 287 million smartphones shipped in Q4 2013 were running Android.

Author: The Fonecast
0 Comments
Article rating: No rating

It’s time to prepare for the upcoming surge in signaling traffic

Robin Kent writes:

After initially suffering from slow pick up by consumers, 4G has begun to accelerate, and is now well on the way to the forecasted one billion subscribers by 2017. In fact EE, owner of T-Mobile and Orange, recently announced the addition of 493,000 new 4G customers to its existing base of 1.2 million.

Author: The Fonecast
0 Comments
Article rating: No rating

Mobile phone coverage: is this as good as it gets?

Mark Bridge writes:

A new report has highlighted the issue of poor mobile phone coverage in rural Sussex villages. BBC Sussex invited me onto their ‘Sussex Breakfast’ radio show to explain what could be done - and, as usual, I made enough notes for a lecture rather than a three-minute interview.

Here’s what I would have liked to have said if I’d been given a disproportionate amount of time to talk.

Author: The Fonecast
0 Comments
Article rating: No rating

Last week at The Fonecast: 27th January 2014

Expecting the unexpected

Mark Bridge writes:

Great news for mobile phone users. Ofcom’s new rules preventing unexpected mid-contract price rises came into force last week, which means UK consumers can no longer be surprised by their subscription charge increasing while they’re still locked into a minimum-term deal.

Author: The Fonecast
0 Comments
Article rating: No rating

Ofcom changes the rules for mobile phone contracts... and so does O2

Mark Bridge writes:

This week, new Ofcom rules came into force. They’re designed to avoid unexpected price rises during the minimum term of a mobile phone contract. Yes, just because you signed a fixed-term contract doesn’t mean the charges can’t increase. Networks said they needed this option in case of inflation or regulatory changes. Customers felt trapped.

Author: The Fonecast
7 Comments
Article rating: No rating
RSS
First567810121314Last

Recent Podcasts

Reviewing our 2015 mobile industry predictions... and looking forward to 2016

Podcast - 15th January 2016

Iain Graham, James Rosewell and Mark Bridge return to review their mobile industry predictions from last year. Which mergers, partnerships and developments did they forecast correctly... and which didn’t work out as planned?

Later in the programme, the team anticipates some of the topics that will be hitting the headlines during 2016.

Author: The Fonecast
0 Comments
Article rating: No rating

Podcast from Mobile World Congress 2015

Podcast - 6th March 2015

Mark Bridge learns about the mobile technology trends at Mobile World Congress 2015 by chatting to James Rosewell of 51Degrees, Dr Kevin Curran from the IEEE and Chris Millington of Doro.

They talk about wearable devices, wireless charging, mobile operating systems and much more... including some of their favourite products from the exhibition.

Author: The Fonecast
0 Comments
Article rating: No rating

Looking back at February: from security scares to multiple MVNOs

Podcast - 27th February 2015

We're taking a look back at the biggest mobile industry news stories from February 2015, including allegations that the UK's security service tried to breach SIM card security by hacking into one of the world's biggest SIM producers.

We also talk about the planned BT and EE merger, the creation of two new UK virtual networks, some acquisitions in the mobile payment arena and a new Ubuntu smartphone.

Author: The Fonecast
0 Comments
Article rating: No rating

Interview with Chris Millington of Doro about mobile retailing, wearables and technology for older consumers

Podcast - 24th February 2015

In today's programme Mark Bridge talks to Chris Millington, who's Managing Director for Doro UK and Ireland.

They discuss the state of mobile retailing in the UK, the future of wearable devices and - as you might expect - smartphones for seniors.

Author: The Fonecast
0 Comments
Article rating: No rating

A month of mobile: O2 counts on 3, Microsoft counts to 10 and Apple counts its profits

Podcast - 30th January 2015

We're back with a month of mobile industry news, including takeover talks and takeover rumours. O2 and Three are said to be discussing a merger... but is there any truth in the suggestions that BlackBerry could be up for grabs?

We also discuss Apple's record-breaking quarterly figures, the highlights of CES and the launch of Microsoft Windows 10, as well as saying farewell to the current version of Google Glass.

Author: The Fonecast
0 Comments
Article rating: No rating
RSS
1234567810Last

Follow thefonecast.com

Twitter @TheFonecast RSS podcast feed
Find us on Facebook Subscribe free via iTunes

Archive Calendar

«June 2024»
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
272829303112
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
1234567

Archive

Terms Of Use | Privacy Statement