Ford to develop virtual pothole detection and avoidance map for your car

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Virtual pothole detection developed by Ford

A new virtual pothole map is currently being developed by Ford which will show drivers, in real-time on in-car displays any potholes on the road.

The interactive pothole map doesn’t only show where the holes are on the road but also how bad they are and suggest alternative routes.

The new mapping technology is being developed at the Ford Research and Innovation Centre, in Aachen, Germany.

Engineers will make use of cameras and embedded modems enabling the system to gather detailed information on the potholes and beam it to the cloud where it can then be beamed to other drivers who are also on the same mapping system in real time.

Ford already use onboard sensors for Continuously Controlled Damping with Pothole Mitigation, which can detect potholes using sensors and adjusts the suspension to help reduce any potential damage. The system is on Galaxy, Mondeo and S-Max models.

Liam Keane, Dromagh, Co. Cork, enjoying a dip in the giant pothole

Uwe Hoffmann, research engineer, Advanced Chassis Control Technologies, Ford of Europe had this to say:

“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,”

Usually, potholes increase and become more prevalent in the winter with freezing temperatures, ice and snow likely lead to more cracked and potholed roads. It is estimated that bad road surfaces are contributing to more than a third of all accidents every year.

In the UK alone, a pothole damage claim is received by local authorities every 17 minutes – with claims averaging £432.

In 2011, at an estimated cost of more than over €1 billion euro, 20 million potholes were reported in Europe but only half were filled in. One can only imagine the cost of repairs on all the vehicles which hit these unfilled potholes.

Certainly, a new pothole detection and avoidance map would contribute greatly to the terrible damage that these cause.




Justin Kavanagh
Justin Kavanagh is a recognised leader in automotive intelligence and vehicle data supply to the entire motor industry. He has almost 20 years experience in building systems from the ground up. As the Managing Director of Vehicle Management System, he understands the need and importance of trustworthy and reliable vehicle history and advice to both the trade and the public.
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