posted 4 months ago

New Ford Focus Makes Crashing Through Potholes Thing of the past

All-New Ford Focus pothole detection technology explained, its benefits and comment from the manufacturer

How pothole detection works

The All-New Ford Focus has pothole detection technology so it floats over bumps, minimises the risk of vehicle damage and compensates for a lack of maintenance that blights the roads. And never before has it been so needed. In March 2018, the Asphalt Industry Alliance Local Authority Road Maintenance Survey revealed:

  • 24,000 miles of road “need repairing in the next year”
  • £556 million is the “annual carriageway budget shortfall”
  • 1 in 5 local roads could “fail” in the next 5 years

Pothole detection technology is the solution to such issues. Consider a scenario. A lesser car is on a smooth, nicely maintained, road so its front/right tyre is in constant contact with the tarmac. However, it turns onto a rough road then hits a wide, deep, pothole so the supporting surface effectively vanishes.

On this basis, the front/right tyre falls to the bottom of the pothole. This first impact shudders through the vehicle and its passengers. Furthermore, as the tyre climbs out it strikes the side of the pothole – much like riding a bicycle up a kerb – so there is a second impact. The following, rear/right, tyre then follows suit.

All-New, 2018, Ford Focus pothole technology is more proactive in this scenario. It recognises that the tyre is falling into the pothole so stiffens the suspension to limit such travel. This minimises the first impact. Furthermore, as the tyre cannot fall far it has a short climb to get out. This limits the second impact.

The system further warns the following, rear/right, suspension that there is a pothole ahead so it stiffens in preparation. All such adjustments take milliseconds. Ford added that its technology has been developed on real roads and at its test facility in Belgium that replicates “some of the worst potholes” from around the world.


Pothole technology development

New, 2018, Ford Focus Vehicle Dynamics Supervisor, Guy Mathot, concluded that potholes have become an increasing problem for motorists. “Our engineers are always searching for the roughest roads to really test our suspension to the limit - but more and more we are noticing the rough roads are finding us”, he confirmed.

“Potholes are a problem that is not going away soon”, Mr Mathot continued. These imperfections make motoring uncomfortable, stressful and damage vehicles. The wheels, tyres and suspension suffer in particular and repair bills can be “hefty”, the manufacturer confirmed. The All-New Ford Focus “reduces their impact” and is available from summer 2018. Prices start at £17,930.