How many times have we wished for this! A system that alerts us to upcoming potholes so we can steer clear of trouble. Well Land Rover is now detailing “Pothole Alert” research technology that does just what the name implies. It senses the road ahead and gives you time to take evasive action.
The automaker is unveiling the technology on a Range Rover Evoque prototype. It uses an autonomous-driving radar and sonar sensors to monitor the topography of the road surface. It can pinpoint the location and severity of potholes, broken manhole covers, broken drains and other potential threats that could cause you trouble.
Dr Mike Bell, Global Connected Car Director, Jaguar Land Rover, said: “Our MagneRide equipped Range Rover Evoque and Discovery Sport vehicles feature sophisticated sensors that allow the vehicle to profile the road surface under the wheels and identify potholes, raised manholes and broken drain covers. 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 technology can even connect with other vehicles ahead of you, find out if they’ve hit a bump in the road, and use that info to alert you to rough patches in the road ahead.
“Ultimately, sensing the road ahead and assessing hazards is a key building block on our journey to the autonomous car, ” said Bell. “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. If the pothole hazard was significant enough, safety systems could slow or even stop the car to minimize the impact. This could all help make future autonomous driving a safe and enjoyable reality.”
Jaguar Land Rover’s research team will also be working to understand how real-time road profile information could be shared with road authorities so they can send road repair teams out quickly. The project will investigate whether an experimental camera could take an image of the pothole or damaged manhole and share this with the road authorities, together with a GPS location.
“While this gives our customers a more comfortable ride, we think there is a huge opportunity to turn the information from these vehicle sensors into ‘big data’ and share it for the benefit of other road users,” said Bell. “This could help prevent billions of pounds of vehicle damage and make road repairs more effective.”
Well, suffice it to say, this is technology that couldn’t get on the road fast enough as far as we’re concerned.