Jaguar Land Rover is currently conducting Pothole Alert Research as part of its new connected car technology and the firm's latest project, called MagnaRide. With a vehicle-to-vehicle infrastructure, this initiative would allow its cars to identify the severity and location of poor road surfaces, which include broken drainages, uncovered manholes and potholes
From there, cars could then share cloud data in real-time with other connected vehicles and send information to appropriate road authorities for possible repairs.
Jaguar Land Rover is currently testing MagnaRide on its Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque vehicles. Jaguar Land Rover has been coordinating with the Coventry City Council to determine what road data would be most necessary for road repairs and how road profiling information could be shared with road authorities.
The research's main drawback is that the car needs to experience a pothole first to acquire the necessary data, but other vehicles on the receiving end of the data would have the ability to inform drivers of the damaged surface, allowing drivers to either slow down or adjust suspension settings to minimize the impact of the pothole.
Jaguar Land Rover believes that Pothole Alert Research could help motorists save millions of dollars on punctured tires, road accidents, possible vehicle damages and car insurance claims each year, and, most importantly, passengers' and drivers' lives.
Mercedes-Benz has been using a protection system in the S-Cass known as Road Surface Scan. Its vehicle system runs by sensing the road through a stereo camera system and scanning the road nearly 50 feet ahead, thus allowing enough time for the vehicle's suspension to adjust. However, it is not as advanced as the Jaguar Land Rover's car-to-car linked communication, although the technology is still in the development stage.
The MagnaRide technology of Jaguar Land Rover is on track toward future autonomous car technology, which will allow the system to guide a vehicle to drive around potholes automatically and without swerving, thus ensuring the safety of drivers and vehicles in other lanes. In extreme or severe road conditions, the system is said to put a vehicle to an automatic stop.
"Ultimately, sensing the road ahead and assessing hazards is a key building block on our journey to the autonomous car ... If the pothole hazard was significant enough, safety systems could slow or even stop the car to minimize the impact. This could all help make future autonomous driving a safe and enjoyable reality," stated Mike Bell, Global Connected Car Director of Jaguar Land Rover.