Avoiding those pot holes
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Costly car repairs caused by dangerous potholes could soon become a thing of the past with Ford announcing it is working on a virtual pothole map.
The map, that could be released later this year, would show drivers in real time where potholes are, how bad they are, and suggest alternative routes.
In the UK, pothole claims average NZ$749 a year per person, while in the US claims are around NZ$524. And this Northern Hemisphere winter's freezing temperatures, ice and snow are likely to lead to more cracked and potholed roads.
"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, a research engineer at 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 sensors in Ford cars detect potholes and adjust the suspension to help reduce any potential damage.)
Engineers are researching the use of cameras and embedded Wi-Fi systems, at the Ford Research and Innovation Centre, in Aachen, Germany. They said these technologies could gather detailed information on the potholes and beam it to a virtual cloud -- where it can be made available to other drivers e.
Ford already tests new cars on a nightmare road at Lommel Proving Ground, in Belgium, using replicas of some of the world's worst potholes.
This isn't the first time that Ford has used innovative technology in its cars. In December 2016, the firm announced that it was designing a system to use drones to help guide driverless vehicles, including on off-road adventures.
A drone launched from an autonomous vehicle would help guide it by mapping the surrounding area beyond what the car's sensors can detect.
Vehicle passengers can control the drone using the car's 'infotainment' or navigation system.
"At some point, people will want to take their autonomous vehicle into the woods or off road where the drone could guide them," said Alan Hall, Ford's in-house technology department. spokesman.
- Daily Mail