Ever driven into a pothole and cringed at the thought of the abuse you've just put your poor car through? We feel your pain.
Fortunately, Jaguar Land Rover is developing a new technology that will allow cars to monitor the road ahead, and automatically adjust their suspension settings to better deal with damaged surfaces.
The technology (called MagneRide), will kit out Range Rover Evoque and Discovery Sport vehicles with sensors that allow them to profile the road surface under the wheels, identifying potholes, raised manholes and broken drain covers.
By monitoring the motion of the vehicle and changes in the height of the suspension, cars are able to continuously adjust the vehicle’s suspension characteristics, providing passengers with a smoother, more comfortable ride.
What’s more, JLR wants the technology to be able to inform local councils about damaged roads, so that they can get them repaired quickly. Data would also be able to be shared with other drivers via the cloud, so they can avoid the peril of damaged suspension or a puncture.
It's wishful thinking, yes, but if the technology is sound, it's just a case of getting councils to sign up and spread the initiative.
The technology will also help JLR with its plans to produce self-driving cars in the future. The company has a Range Rover Evoque research vehicle, which will be fitted with the road sensing tech, along with an advanced forward-facing digital camera, to effectively ’see’ the road ahead.
Mike Bell, JLR's global connected car director, believes that sensing the road ahead and assessing hazards is a key building block on JLR'sjourney to the autonomous car. In the future, the company hopes to develop a system that could automatically guide a car around potholes without the car leaving its lane and causing a danger to other drivers.
Good news for cars, bad news for mechanics.