We’ve all heard about how carbon emissions contribute to global warming, raising temperatures by trapping solar energy in the atmosphere. But did you know in cities, quality of pavements can contribute to around 15% of a vehicle’s fuel consumption, which consequently translates to more greenhouse gas emission?
This is what Meshkat Botshekan ’19 noted while collaborating with Dr. Arghavan Louhghalam, and Dr. Mazdak Tootkaboni, assistant and associate professors of Civil and Environmental Engineering, to develop a strategy for reducing the environmental effects and carbon emissions of driving on rough roads.
“Meshkat an extremely talented master’s degree student at the time, worked with us on the development of the algorithm,” says Louhghalam. The app uses data from drivers’ cellphones in a crowdsourced fashion to infer road surface roughness (much broader than potholes), vehicle fuel consumption, and the related greenhouse emissions.
“Carbin app uses the accelerometer of your smartphone to record the vibrations of your car when you are driving,” says Meshkat who earned his MS in Engineering at UMassD in 2019 and is now a PhD student at the MIT. “The algorithm, the heart of the app, then converts these vibration signals into a very well-known road quality measure known as International Roughness Index (IRI). Road’s quality impacts the comfort of driving, fuel consumption, and more importantly the environment.”
Another unique advantage of the app is that the quality of the roads can be monitored in a crowdsourced framework for virtually all the roads in the nation and worldwide. “Where conventional way of measuring IRI requires an expensive instrumented vehicle, Carbin is an app that everybody can install and start measuring the road’s quality,” Meshkat says. “Carbin app users can also take an extra index into account to choose their route— roughness of the road— which helps them reduce the fuel consumption as well as contribute to a more sustainable environment.” The app is free and available for download to iOS and Android devices.