A pothole damage claim is received by local authorities every 17 minutes – with claims averaging £432.*
And with this winter tipped to set records as being the worst ever, freezing temperatures, ice and snow will likely lead to more cracked and potholed roads.
You could, however, be spared costly car repairs with our new research project – an ingenious crowd-sourced virtual pothole map, with testing due to start later this year.
The map would show drivers, in real-time, on in-car displays, where potholes are, how bad they are, and suggest alternative routes.
“A virtual pothole map could highlight a new pothole the minute it appears and almost immediately warn other drivers that there is a hazard ahead,” said research engineer Uwe Hoffmann, who is leading the project. “Our cars already feature sensors that detect potholes and now we are looking at taking this to the next level.”
Cold, ice and snow all cause roads to freeze, thaw and ultimately break apart, a situation compounded by heavy spring rain that fills the holes – spelling trouble for the 16 million motorists who hit the road for the Easter break. **
Galaxy, Mondeo and S-MAX, already use on-board sensors for Continuously Controlled Damping with Pothole Mitigation that detects potholes using sensors and adjusts the suspension to help reduce any potential damage.
Engineers are now researching using cameras and embedded modems, at the Ford Research and Innovation Center, in Aachen, Germany. Together, these technologies would gather detailed information on the potholes and beam it to the cloud – where it can be made available to other drivers – in real time.
Further research is also exploring the use of an active suspension system designed to massively reduce the severity of bumps and rough road surfaces.
We already test new cars on a nightmare 1.2-mile road at Lommel Proving Ground, in Belgium, using replicas of some of the world’s worst potholes.