In Depth

Ford trials crowd-sourced pothole warning system

'Virtual pothole map' could share hazardous road surface data with other drivers

Ford has announced that it's developing a pothole alert system that could allow drivers to alter their routes in order to avoid potentially hazardous road surfaces.

The system relies on crowd-generated data, meaning that Ford drivers who discover a pothole will automatically beam the information to the company's cloud-sharing system which will then relay it to other Ford owners. 

Information will appear on the vehicle's dashboard in the form of a map, in real time, showing drivers the location and severity of the pothole.

Leading the project is Uwe Hoffmann, who says that "a virtual pothole map could highlight a new pothole the minute it appears and almost immediately warn other drivers that there is a hazard ahead". 

He adds that the company's vehicles "already feature sensors that detect potholes and now we are looking at taking this to the next level".

The firm's S-MAX and Galaxy MPVs, as well as the Mondeo saloon, currently feature systems that adjust the damping of the suspension to reduce the impact of potholes.

There's no word on when the new safety feature will be released, but Ford is currently trialling the system at its research facility in Germany. 

During the 2015/2016 fiscal year, drivers made "31,483 claims against councils for vehicles damage caused by poor road conditions", says the RAC. The average value of a claim was £432, although "councils only paid out in just over a quarter" of all cases.  

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