► Potholes cost us £2.8bn a year ► Ranger Rover tech detects holes ► Could also warn other drivers
Punctures, broken suspension, buckled wheels… potholes are bad news for UK motorists, but now Jaguar Land Rover claims to have calculated the true annual cost: a staggering £2.8bn. Don’t panic, it says, it’s working on the solution: a new connected-car technology dubbed Pothole Alert (PA).
It’s timely news: in the budget chancellor George Osborne said that the quality of Britain’s roads lags behind Puerto Rico and Namibia, despite four-fifths of all our journeys being by road, and he pledged to plough 100% of Vehicle Excise Duty into roads by 2020-21. Here, too, JLR plans to help: data from PA can be fed to local authorities, helping to target funding needs.
CAR drove an Evoque equipped with prototype Pothole Alert. Like many connected-car technologies, the hardware exists already in today’s vehicles; it’s simply a matter of joining the dots. In this case, the foundations for PA lie with the Evoque’s optional MagneRide suspension. This uses electro-magnetic forces acting on iron filings to alter the viscosity of damper fluid, either hardening or softening the suspension to suit road conditions. PA takes data from the MagneRide sensors as the dampers compress and rebound, and combines it with information from the roll-control and traction-control systems to measure the length, depth or height and severity of road blights. The sat-nav’s GPS simultaneously determines the car’s position, and the car uploads the data to the cloud to share among other road users.
Quite how this information is relayed to other drivers, and in which cases, is yet to be determined. Head-up display systems have obvious potential, but the exact nature of the message has not been finalised, and engineers are mindful that constantly alerting drivers to a road in bad repair would become tiresome and distracting. These are the fine – and crucial – details that must be finessed before Pothole Alert reaches production.
Of course, eliminating potholes altogether, particularly if you’re driving a non-connected car or riding a bike, is a better solution. That’s why JLR is about to undertake a joint research programme with Coventry County Council. ‘We’ll be investigating how Pothole Alert could supply us with data in real-time from thousands of connected cars across our road network,’ says cabinet member for public services Rachel Lancaster. ‘We already collect lots of data which we monitor very carefully, but having this extra information might allow us to further improve our maintenance programmes, saving the taxpayer money.’
Pothole Alert is in its infancy, and JLR is keen to emphasise the future potential. A logical next step is for vehicles receiving pothole data to proactively soften their suspension, ensuring a smoother ride for occupants. A forward-facing stereo camera – recently introduced to support autonomous emergency braking – could scan the road ahead and pre-emptively soften suspension too, much as Mercedes’ Magic Ride Control does today. It could also send a picture of the damaged road to the local council.
PA also supports the inexorable rise of autonomous driving. ‘We’re looking to develop systems that could automatically guide an autonomous car around potholes without the car leaving its lane and causing a danger to other drivers,’ reveals Mike Bell, JLR’s connected-car director. ‘If the pothole hazard was significant enough, safety systems could slow or even stop the car. This could all help make future autonomous driving a safe and enjoyable reality.’
Last year, compensation claims in England (excluding London) totalled £20.2 m, according to the Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance Survey, more than double the previous year. So not only do potholes hit motorists in the pocket, the claims suck cash from government coffers. Perhaps by 2020, then, better-funded roads and smarter cars will make that a thing of the past.
1) The Evoque’s continuously variable MagneRide dampers impact on a pothole, manhole cover or damaged drain
2) Existing sensors in the magnetorheological dampers, roll-control and traction-control systems combine to measure the severity of the impact, while GPS from the sat-nav is used to determine its location
3) This information is digitally uploaded to the cloud via the Evoque’s internet connection, then automatically shared with other road users and the local authority
4) Road users are alerted to particularly severe potholes, while the local authority can more accurately target essential repairs
- Bankrupt Katie Price's iconic pink Range Rover is put up for sale at used car lot in Chelmsford... with onlookers astounded at 'filth' in the repossessed motor
- Police tell owners of Range Rover Evoques to buy old-fashioned steering locks after the £30,000 vehicles are targeted in spate of keyless thefts
- Range Rover Sport Launched With New 2.0-Litre Petrol Engine — Prices Start At 86.71 Lakh
- EXCLUSIVE: Katie Price's iconic pink Range Rover is 'repossessed' and put up for sale at Essex used car garage
- Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho talks Jaguars, Range Rovers and why he only settles for luxury behind the wheel
- Tesla's futuristic Cybertruck revealed: up to 500 miles of range, can go 0-60 in 2.9 seconds
- Katie Price's pink Range Rover 'repossessed' and for sale at used car garage
- Katie Price, 41, and Kris Boyson's, 31, relationship is 'on the rocks AGAIN'... just days after her beloved pink Range Rover was 'repossessed'
- Skint Katie Price’s ‘filthy’ pink Range Rover up for sale after it’s repossessed amid bankruptcy battle
- How tech is making trucks comfier, smoother, and better for everyday drivers
- Car of the Year: Toyota RAV4 v Land Rover Discovery Sport v Citroen C5
- Land Rover Off-Road Driving Experience: The “Above & Beyond Tour 2019’ Comes To Bangalore
- The 2016 Chevy Volt: An energy-efficient car that doesn’t drive like one
- Land Rover's new £20m factory will make bespoke 4x4s and sports cars - but only for the super-rich
- New Land Rover Discovery Sport goes through monumental change
- This Intel solution can help you avoid potholes
- Audi Sport will unleash 6 new, redesigned performance cars in the next 4 months
- Fines for no car insurance less than premiums as more drivers convicted than ever
- BMW may unveil an all-electric 3 Series sedan in September
- NXP's India engineers create host of chips for autonomous cars
Tech: why Range Rover is going potholing, CAR+ September 2015 have 1004 words, post on www.carmagazine.co.uk at August 25, 2015. This is cached page on Talk Vietnam. If you want remove this page, please contact us.