Cars equipped with continuously adaptive damping can respond to holes in the road

Ford is introducing pothole-detecting technology that can smooth out a car’s ride over broken roads to its range via the fourth-generation Focus.

The system comes with Ford’s continuously controlled damping, which is a £650 option, and uses 12 high-resolution sensors that can ‘see’ potholes before the car drives over them.

Once a pothole is identified, the dampers are automatically adjusted to their hardest setting, so the wheels that run over the hole don't fall so deep into it. This, Ford said, reduces the impact as the wheel bounces back out of the hole, improving the ride and reducing the chances of damage.

The system is said to be most effective at the rear of the car, because there’s a greater amount of time for the damper to tense before a wheel is confronted with the pothole.

First introduced in the US last year, the tech will be available in Britain when the first new Focus (above) models arrive in showrooms in the summer, and will then be available on all Ford models above the Focus. The tech will be standard in all models equipped with continuously controlled damping. 

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“Our engineers are always searching for the roughest roads to really test our suspension to the limit, but more and more we're noticing that the rough roads are finding us,” said Guy Mathot, vehicle dynamics supervisor for the new Focus. “Potholes are a problem that isn’t going away any time soon but, with our advanced suspension technology for the all-new Focus, we've been able to reduce their impact.”

The UK’s pothole problem peaked after the ‘Beast from the East’ storm passed over the British Isles during the winter. The UK Government announced a £100 million fund to repair potholes in March, but experts claim that this is well short of the investment required to properly fix the county's roads.

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Comments
12

21 June 2018

Or copy the suspension from any number of Peugeots or Renaults from the 60s and 70s to get a great ride and the Ring time can go hang.

21 June 2018

 All sounds so good, you can drive with impunity now and not feel such a hard hit so the jolt is not as severe inside the Car, but, what about the unavoidable really deep not seen till it’s to late at Night?, still think there’s going to be damage.

Peter Cavellini.

21 June 2018
Peter Cavellini wrote:

what about the unavoidable really deep not seen till it’s to late at Night?, still think there’s going to be damage.

Whatever sensors they have they will be able to see in the dark, much like Lidar does with self-driving cars.   Might be radar based.

289

21 June 2018

.....a very busy system....around here at least!

Should go into meltdown within a week.

21 June 2018

Around my are, East Ayrshire in Scotland, the potholes were terrible.   They were killing cars! Every other night I'd see several cars being attended to by AA, RAC or any other recovery service.

 

I reported these problems to my MSP, the SNP Willie Coffey.   Response?   Well, reported at the start of January, fixed mid May.

 

These were holes that even damaged one car so badly it wouldn't start again.   The holes so massive and frequent that I would be surprised if the Ford system could cope.   When the council eventually did fill in the holes with what can only be described as a temporary patch, one was over 30m long!

 

30m long stretch of constant potholes and the SNP couldn't care less how much damage it did to your car, or how much it cost you.

21 June 2018

"Once a pothole is identified, the dampers are automatically adjusted to their hardest setting, so the wheels that run over the hole don't fall so deep into it."  How does the stiffness of the damping prevent the wheel falling so deep into the hole?  Surely the size of the wheel, relative to the size of the hole dictates how far the wheel will fall in?

22 June 2018

Increased damping will slow the rate at which the wheel falls into the hole, it won't fall as quick or as deep, as by the time the wheel's about to bottom out, you'll be the other side so to speak

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

22 June 2018

 if the Hole is bigger than the diameter of the Hole you’ve not seen till it’s to late to avoid your still going to go in it Wheel and all no matter what fancy suspension is fitted, and there will still be damage?, maybe autonomous pothole detection?, yes I’m taking the Urine!

Peter Cavellini.

22 June 2018

Like can it detect pot holes filled with water? Also, what's the success rate i.e. percentage of holes detected and how far can it see ahead.

Does it work 50% of time?? I think I'd keep £650 in my pockey thank you as I've never damaged a car yet!

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

22 June 2018
I thought all cars already had this feature. It is called the windscreen, look through it and there in front of you is wall to wall potholes. You need tech to find smooth road!

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