Ford Developing a Warning System to Reduce Pothole Damages in Cars
Potholes are the bane of drivers, especially in the Philippines. Driving through them can be extremely challenging and very damaging to a car, particularly when it comes to its tires, under-frame, and suspension.
Chances of driving over potholes in the country will always be inevitable. But there's one promising feature that Ford is developing in its Ford Fusion model that will make it less painful: a pothole mitigation technology.
According to the company, its engineers have created an advanced computer-controlled shock absorber for the Fusion V6 Sport 2017 that helps reduce the overall impact and effect of potholes on a car.
According to Ford's engineering expert, Jason Michener: "The new Fusion V6 Sport substantially reduces the harsh impact potholes often deliver," he explained. "Our new pothole mitigation technology works by actually detecting potholes and 'catching' the car's wheel before it has a chance to drop all the way into the pothole."
The system operates by having its on-board computers analyze several signals from 12 sensors placed underneath the car. These sensors adjust the car's dampers every two milliseconds, and when they detect the edge of a pothole, Ford Fusion's computers automatically increases the dampers at their stiffest settings. This prevents the car from sinking deep into the potholes. Another great feature that the system does is having its front wheels relay pre-warning signals to the rear wheels as soon as they get near potholes. This allows the rear wheels to adjust accordingly.
Ford tested its pothole mitigation technology by driving the Fusion in the north-eastern part of Belgium, at the Lommel Proving Ground. This place is known to have the same effect of deep potholes and extreme surfaces that are similar to many potholes found all over the world.
"We tested and tuned this system by driving over countless potholes — subjecting Fusion V6 Sport to the brutal, square-edged potholes of our Lommel Proving Ground to finesse the software," Michener said. "It was long hours of not very pleasant work, but the results are well worth it."
According to the company, they placed test tracks scattered over 50 miles within the Lommel Proving Ground area. Passing the test here will make driving through other potholes a walk in the park.
Currently, Ford is also working on other options that will help manage road nuisances. They're developing cameras and embedded modems that will allow drivers to change their routes so they can avoid driving straight through potholes. According to the company, it uses crowd-generated data, which allows drivers who discover potholes to automatically beam this information to Ford's cloud-sharing system. This in turn, will relay the information back to other Ford drivers on the road, so they can avoid it beforehand.