The dreaded thud experienced as a wheel suddenly dips below the road surface could soon be more easily avoided, thanks to new technology from Jaguar Land Rover.
Called ‘Pothole Alert’, the new system warns drivers of a pothole in the road ahead (as the name suggests) or a broken manhole cover. The hope is that the warning will give them the time and space to avoid driving through it.
Vehicles fitted with forward-facing radars and cameras will soon be able to ‘read’ the road surface ahead and determine if potholes are present, feeding this information back to the driver.
And beyond the driver, the aim for JLR is to share this information with other vehicles in the area to warn following drivers of a pothole up ahead.
Local councils and road authorities will also be notified of the location and severity of the pothole - which even includes a picture of the pothole taken by the vehicle’s camera - to enable more efficient repair times at less expense.
This system is already being developed in conjunction with Coventry City Council in the UK.
Pothole Alert isn’t just a warning light, however, as the vehicle’s suspension is adjusted within milliseconds to prepare for the impact if the hole is unavoidable.
The long-term goal for JLR is to integrate Pothole Alert into fully-autonomous driving systems to enable the vehicle to brake, adjust its suspension and choose a different course to avoid potholes wherever possible.
The system will no doubt be welcomed by every driver to help avoid damage to the sidewalls of tyres and expensive alloy wheels.
In extreme instances, potholes can also see a driver lose control of their vehicle, resulting in a collision.
Local councils will also welcome the technology, as frustrated drivers have previously sought compensation for damage to their vehicles through what they deem to be a lack of road maintenance.
But then again, the system could give councils an excuse to further delay necessary repairs…
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