How Ford Is Planning on Helping You Avoid Potholes

Potholes are the bane of every driver. Not only are they inconvenient, but they can also cause massive damage to your car. Unfortunately, depending on factors such as the weather and the structural integrity of the road you’re driving down, potholes can be a frequent occurrence. That’s why Ford has come up with a plan to help drivers avoid these pesky obstacles. Enter the pothole map.

Improving Current Technology

Believe it or not, but some Ford cars already have some sophisticated technology to help drivers deal with the pain of potholes. The 2017 Fusion V6 Sport features 12 sensors that can read the road and adjust the suspension accordingly – leaving you with less pothole aftershock. Ford’s new idea is to take that data and upload it to the cloud, where it can be logged for future reference, essentially creating a “pothole map” for all drivers.

What It Could Look Like

As futuristic as the idea is, it’s one that’s pretty easy to understand. But what would it actually look like for those in the driver’s seats? According to the researchers at Ford who are working on the project, the pothole detection system could bring up notifications in the driver’s dashboard, warning them of potholes ahead. The benefit of having this data in the cloud, of course, would be that once one driver runs over a pothole, all other drivers hooked up to the system would be aware of the hazard. It wouldn’t be long before most potholes were in the cloud, and whenever a new one formed–wherever it might be–all drivers would be aware of it.  

Potential Issues

A cloud-based pothole map is a genius idea, but some are worried that the problems it might solve could open up some other problems for drivers. For instance, drivers who change their route to avoid hitting a road with a lot of potholes could end up causing congestion on other roads that aren’t prepared to deal with additional traffic. We’re already seeing a similar effect due to navigation apps that report on current traffic conditions. This leads into the second issue: why not focus on fixing the potholes instead? Naturally, that’s not a simple request, but perhaps a pothole map could demonstrate just how important transportation funding is to our infrastructure. Further, a pothole map would point out which roads are in the most dire need of some fix-ups.

Looking to the Future

Hopefully, as civil engineering technology improves, potholes will become less and less of a reality. For the time being, however, they are just something we have to deal with. It will be interesting to see how autonomous cars make use of this data – no longer will you have to look at a map or act on a warning of an upcoming pothole, because the car will dodge it for you, leaving you none the wiser. No matter how technology develops, it’s safe to say that we can all look forward to a future where potholes are no longer a problem.

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