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Ford to Test Mapping System Geared Toward Avoiding Potholes

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Ford Lommel Proving Ground

Possibly the worst aspect of the post-winter thaw is the effect it has on roadways: soon, your commute will be littered with even more potholes than normal, which can lead to costly repairs. Ford, ever the innovator, is hard at work on a crowdsourced virtual pothole map that will help drivers avoid trouble spots altogether and save money that would otherwise be spent making pothole-related repairs.

Ford is currently researching the technology with the intention of testing it later this year. Using a network of cameras and modems, Ford vehicles would be able to gather real-time data about the location and severity of potholes; in cases where potholes are particularly bad, the map would suggest a smoother alternative route. While some navigation apps provide users the ability to update one another on the presence of potholes, Ford’s system appears to collect that data without requiring driver interaction.

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“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,” said Uwe Hoffmann, research engineer, Advanced Chassis Control Technologies, Ford of Europe. “Our cars already feature sensors that detect potholes, and now we are looking at taking this to the next level.”

The recently-released 2017 Ford Fusion V6 Sport features a first-in-class, computer-controlled shock absorber system that allows it to mitigate damage sustained by driving over potholes. Ford also operates a test track in Belgium, the Lommel Proving Ground, where it tests vehicles against potholes and numerous other damage-causing road hazards.

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