Jaguar Land Rover’s Smart Cars Can Now Spot Potholes

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road potholes
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Road monitoring technology helps spot obstacles in the road and hopefully minimise damage to your vehicle

Damaging your car by failing to see a pothole could soon be a thing of the past thanks to new technology from one of Britain’s top car makers.

Jaguar Land Rover has today revealed it is researching new technology that will allow its vehicles to detect and avoid hazards in the road’s surface such as potholes and raised manholes.

The ‘Pothole Alert’ tool has already been installed in Range Rover Evoque and Discovery Sport test vehicles, as the iconic car maker looks to helps address a problem that causes around £2.8bn worth of damage each year.

Bumpy ride

jaguar land rover pothole smart carIf a threat is detected, the system links into Jaguar Land Rover’s MagneRide feature, which continuously monitors the motion of the vehicle and any changes in suspension height, to ensure a smooth ride by continuously changing the suspension.

“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. This could help prevent billions of pounds of vehicle damage and make road repairs more effective,” said Dr Mike Bell, the company’s global connected car director.

In order to show off the potential of this opportunity, Jaguar Land Rover is teaming up with Coventry City Council, with whose road authorities it will share road profile information, hopefully highlighting which information is most useful for maintenance teams to identify and prioritise repairs.

“At the moment the most accurate data comes from when the car has driven over the pothole or manhole”, Bell added. “So we are also researching how we could improve the measurement and accuracy of pothole detection by scanning the road ahead, so the car could predict how severe they are before the vehicle gets near them.

“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. If the pothole hazard was significant enough, safety systems could slow or even stop the car to minimize the impact.”

Jaguar Land Rover is the latest in a number of car manufacturers who have looked to address safety issues encountered in increasingly smart and connected vehicles.

Earlier this year, Swedish car maker Volvo told TechWeekEurope about its plan to use sensors embedded in some of the vehicles to transmit information about issues in the road surface.

This will prove especially useful in its Scandinavian homeland, where ice and snow can often make driving in the winter treacherous.

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