Jaguar Land Rover’s pioneering ‘Pothole Alert’ researchcould help save motorists billions of pounds in punctures, vehicledamage and road accidents every yearRange Rover Evoque research vehicle canidentify the location and severity of potholes and brokenmanhole covers – and adjust suspension inmillisecondsJaguar Land Rover researchers developing technology toshare this data with other cars via the cloud so all drivers get awarning about dangerous potholesResearch with Coventry City Council to understand howsharing data with road authorities could enhance the speed andefficiency of road repairs
Whitley, UK: Jaguar Land Rover is researching anew connected car technology that will allow a vehicle to identifythe location and severity of potholes, broken drains and manholecovers, and then share this data in real-time via the cloud withother vehicles and with road authorities to help them prioritiserepairs.
If a car can receive a warning from another vehicle about severepotholes or broken manholes ahead, then drivers would be able toslow down and avoid the danger – or the car could adjust suspensionsettings to reduce the impact and smooth the ride. This could helpreduce the potential for punctures, wheel and vehicle damage aswell as road accidents.
Dr Mike Bell, Global Connected Car Director, Jaguar Land Rover,said: “Our MagneRide equipped Range Rover Evoque and DiscoverySport vehicles feature sophisticated sensors that allow the vehicleto profile the road surface under the wheels and identify potholes,raised manholes and broken drain covers. By monitoring the motionof the vehicle and changes in the height of the suspension, the caris able to continuously adjust the vehicle’s suspensioncharacteristics, giving passengers a more comfortable ride overuneven and damaged road surfaces.
“While this gives our customers a more comfortable ride, wethink there is a huge opportunity to turn the information fromthese vehicle sensors into ‘big data’ and share it for the benefitof other road users. This could help prevent billions of pounds ofvehicle damage and make road repairs more effective.”
PREDICTING POTHOLES ON THE ROAD TO AUTONOMOUSDRIVING
The next stage of the project at Jaguar Land Rover’s AdvancedResearch Centre in the UK is to install new road surface sensingtechnology in the Range Rover Evoque research vehicle, including anadvanced forward-facing stereo digital camera.
“At the moment the most accurate data comes from when the carhas driven over the pothole or manhole”, added Mike Bell. “So weare also researching how we could improve the measurement andaccuracy of pothole detection by scanning the road ahead, so thecar could predict how severe they are before the vehicle gets nearthem.
“Ultimately, sensing the road ahead and assessing hazards is akey building block on our journey to the autonomous car. In thefuture, we are looking to develop systems that could automaticallyguide a car around potholes without the car leaving its lane andcausing a danger to other drivers. If the pothole hazard wassignificant enough, safety systems could slow or even stop the carto minimize the impact. This could all help make future autonomousdriving a safe and enjoyable reality.”
POTHOLE ALERT AND ROAD REPAIRS
Jaguar Land Rover’s research team will also be working withinnovation partner Coventry City Council to understand how roadprofile information could be shared with road authorities, andexactly what data would be most useful for their roads maintenanceteams to identify and prioritise repairs.
Councillor Rachel Lancaster, Cabinet Member for Public Servicesat Coventry City Council said: “As part of our ‘Smart Cities’strategy, we will be investigating how Jaguar Land Rover’s PotholeAlert system could supply us with data in real-time from thousandsof connected cars right across our road network. This could give usa very accurate, minute-by-minute picture of damage to roadsurfaces, manholes and drains in real time.
“We already collect lots of data which we monitor very carefullyourselves but having this kind of extra information might allow usto further improve our maintenance programmes which would save thetaxpayer money.”
The project will also investigate whether Jaguar Land Rover’sexperimental camera could take an image of the pothole or damagedmanhole – and share this with the road authorities, together with aGPS location.
“We are just beginning to explore how we could use thistechnology, but data that includes the severity of the issue, itsexact location and an image has huge potential,” added CouncillorLancaster. “This is just the sort of information that could help usidentify the cause of the problem, prioritise it and contact theowner of the manhole or drain to get it fixed more quickly.”
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