For those who drive and have encountered potholes, you know what a painful experience this can be. Not painful physically to you as a person, but painful knowing that your car’s tires and suspension are taking unnecessary abuse because of it. According to Jaguar Land Rover, they have estimated that potholes have caused at least £2.8 billion worth of damage in Britain alone on an annual basis.
So much so that the company has created an anti-pothole system that will not only allow vehicles to better absorb the shock and damage from potholes, but at the same time alert other drivers of such potholes in the future. How they plan to accomplish this is through the company’s MagneRide suspension technology that relies on magnetic particles in a damping fluid that can change its viscosity when exposed to a magnetic field.
According to the the company’s Global Connected Car Director Mike Bell, “By monitoring the motion of the vehicle and changes in the height of the suspension, the car is able to continuously adjust the vehicle’s suspension characteristics, giving passengers a more comfortable ride over uneven and damaged road surfaces.”
The system, dubbed the Pothole Alert, will be fitted into the Range Rover Evoque which is a research vehicle used by the company. The vehicle will be equipped with a front-facing stereo digital camera that will try to look out for potholes which in turn could potentially allow the car to avoid them as opposed to have to adjust to them. Prevention is better than cure, right?
Such technology could be the key to create more efficient autonomous vehicles in the future as well. According to Bell, “Ultimately, sensing the road ahead and assessing hazards is a key building block on our journey to the autonomous car. In the future, we are looking to develop systems that could automatically guide a car around potholes without the car leaving its lane and causing a danger to other drivers.”