A car that can detect potholes on SA roads

Jaguar Land Rover is conducting a new research project which aims to build technology that will detect and report potholes on roads.

The group’s ‘Pothole Alert’ research would be well suited for South Africa’s roads and could help save motorists billions in punctures, vehicle damage and road accidents every year.

The new connected-car technology will enable a vehicle to identify the location and severity of potholes, broken drains and manhole covers, while researchers are also developing technology that will enable vehicles to share data with other cars via the cloud.

Jaguar Land Rover’s Advanced Research Centre in the UK will install new road surface sensing technology in a Range Rover Evoque research vehicle, including an advanced forward-facing stereoscopic digital camera. This can identify the location and severity of potholes and broken manhole covers – and adjust suspension in milliseconds

Dr Mike Bell, global connected car director at Jaguar Land Rover said: “Our MagneRideTM equipped Range Rover Evoque and Discovery Sport vehicles feature sophisticated sensors that allow the vehicle to profile the road surface under the wheels and identify potholes, raised manholes and broken drain covers.

“By monitoring the motion of the vehicle and changes in the height of the suspension, the car is able to continuously adjust the vehicle’s suspension characteristics, giving passengers a more comfortable ride over uneven and damaged road surfaces.”

Sensing the road ahead and assessing hazards is a key building block of a journey to the autonomous car, JLR said.

“In the future, we are looking to develop systems that could automatically guide a car around potholes without the car leaving its lane and causing a danger to other drivers. If the pothole hazard was significant enough, safety systems could slow or even stop the car to minimize the impact,” Bell said.

The project will also investigate whether Jaguar Land Rover’s experimental camera could take an image of the pothole or damaged manhole – and share this with the road authorities, together with a GPS location.

Other research projects from the centre include Bike Sense, a concept technology that uses lights, sound, and haptic feedback to alert drivers of approaching bicycles or motorcycles.

Pothole detection
Pothole detection (click to enlarge)

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A car that can detect potholes on SA roads