The presence of potholes on any urban transport surface poses dangers not only to motorists (particularly in the absence of functioning street lights) causing accidents, but also results in long-winded traffic snarls. In other words, potholes present a real threat to public health, and the lack of attempts to fill them up is a sure sign of failure in urban governance.
Speaking in the Lok Sabha earlier this year, Mansuk Mandaviya, Minister of State for Roads, said that in 2017, 3,597 people had been killed and 25,000 were injured because of accidents caused by potholes alone. Shocked by these figures, the Supreme Court responded to this by stating that more Indians have died due to potholes than by terrorist attacks.
Fortunately, three students of The Crossword School from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, have possibly found a solution to this problem, by developing Pothole Warrior, an electronic device for instantly fixing potholes for smooth and safe surface transport.
Developed by three students Hema Srivani, Vishnuteja Ch and Sudhhamshi G, the Pothole Warrior design won the first runners-up prize at the Young Innovators Program held at IIT-Kharagpur on October 27 and 28. According to The Hindu, more than 2000 school sent their ideas, of which IIT-KGP invited 24 teams to present their working models.
You can understand how the Pothole Warrior works in the video embedded below:
This design essentially contains a portable wheelbarrow, which contains the requisite tar mixture in it. It is powered by an electronic circuitry, which contains among other things, ultrasound sensors, arduino micro-controller and servo motor, and is fitted under the wheelbarrow, reports The Hindu.
While the sensors work out the dimensions of the pothole, a micro-controller collects all the necessary data and gauges the amount of tar mixture that is required, functioning at the behest of the servo motor. Once the portable wheelbarrow releases the tar mixture, a pedal-driven roller drum applies the tar into the pothole.
A significant reason for potholes lies in rampant corruption and the outright shoddy construction of roads. Although significant funds are released for roads every year, many of those constructed do not last more than six months of wear and tear in the country, resulting in potholes. What the students have found is a temporary way to fix a problem which requires urgent redressal.
This isn’t the first time the school has won a place in this well-regarded Young Innovator’s Program. School authorities credit this with preparing a curriculum for students which encourages creating thinking and imparts skills required to solve everyday problems.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)