In the science fiction film Minority Report, a police PreCrime unit stops murders before they happen.
Now – and this is apparently close to being ‘science fact’ – a mobile phone app is being developed that should be able to predict a pothole before it actually appears in the road. It harnesses technology designed to monitor earthquakes and the accelerometer found in most mobile phones to detect tiny vibrations or ‘car quakes’ as vehicles pass over a defect in the tarmac that will, if left to ravages of the weather, eventually turn into a hole. The hope is that repairing a small defect will be quicker and cheaper than filling in a hole. This holds out the prospect of human civilisation finally ridding itself of one of the banes of modern life.
Such is the frustration with potholes that it has become a political hot potato, sparking demands for action in parliament and innovative protests involving filling them with breakfast cereal or planting shrubs.
Let’s hope this is an invention that doesn’t go the way of Smell-o-Vision.
But a world without potholes? Almost sounds too good to be true.