A mapping system with real-time locations of potholes is in the pipeline from Ford in the UK.
Sounds like a good idea to us – not long ago we picked-up a brand-new Volkswagen Passat from the Sydney suburb of Botany and within 90 minutes were on the side of the road near Blackheath in the Blue Mountains with a shredded tyre and buckled alloy wheel after striking a ‘behemoth’ of a hole on the Great Western Highway.
Like the Blue Mountains, the weather in England can be severe especially in winter and this, combined with heavy traffic (including semi-trailers) is the perfect recipe to create potholes with such a speed that road repair crews often have trouble keeping pace.
Ford says 20 million potholes were reported in Europe in 2011, and currently British motorists lodge a pothole repair claim every 17 minutes – at an average cost of £432 ($700).
Crowdsource information from motorists will alert Ford’s new mapping system about potholes and their severity and the interactive map will then show their exact locations and even suggest alternative routes.
Ford is also investigating using cameras and storing the information in the cloud as additional components of the pothole mapping.
“Our cars already feature sensors that detect potholes and now we are looking at taking this to the next level,” explained Ford’s Uwe Hoffman. “A virtual pothole map could highlight a new pothole the minute it appears and almost immediately warn other drives that there is a hazard ahead.”
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