Potholes in the road can damage vehicles and lead to accidents. For a smoother ride and to prevent pothole problems, Ford has developed technology that can look at the road ahead and prepare the car to hit a pothole, Scott Collie wrote for Gizmag. It works by analyzing signals from 12 high-resolution sensors, then adjusting the car’s dampers to their stiffest setting.
Because the suspension is stiffer, the Fusion’s wheels don’t drop as far into the pothole, which means it doesn’t hit the other side quite as hard as it otherwise would have. The front suspension can respond in just 2 milliseconds and the rear suspension is, theoretically, faster again because they can use the front wheels as an early warning system.
Ford’s “advanced computer-controlled shock absorber system” will appreciably limit the discomfort drivers and passengers feel going over potholes. Jason Michener, Ford CCD system engineer, said the company tested and tweaked the technology by driving the Ford Fusion V6 Sport over potholes on Ford’s Romeo Proving Grounds. He added, “It was long hours of not very pleasant work, but the results are well worth it.”
When you are not riding on a road that has potholes, you can opt to have the system work as a regular adaptive damping setup. The system will be available at the start of summer in the northern hemisphere on the 2017 V6 Fusion Sport.
Ford is not the only carmaker to offer pothole mitigation technology. As Collie reports, Jaguar Land Rover has such a system that warns other drivers of potholes, and technology that Fraunhofer is developing will log the location of the pothole to report it to road maintenance crews.
According to AAA, pothole damage costs about $3 million annually in repairs to vehicles, or $300 per incident. To avoid pothole damage, vehicle owners should make sure their tires are properly inflated and have adequate tread depth. Tires are the only buffer between a pothole and the vehicle. AAA recommends slowing down on roads prone to potholes, along with releasing the brakes and maintaining straight steering when approaching a pothole. To spot potholes, stay alert, scan the road, and increase following distance behind the vehicle ahead.
To report a pothole on side streets in Colorado, contact your local government. To report a pothole on Colorado State Highways, email [email protected]. Here’s a video about Ford’s pothole mitigation system:
Photo by Christian Delbert.