Today’s Million-Dollar Idea: A Crowdsourced Pothole Warning System

Because cars, unlike dogs, don't like belly scratches

February 16, 2017 9:00 am

Potholes are the canker sores of the road: annoying, painful and hard to detect till it’s too late.

But the folks at Ford have come up with a way to relieve the pain potholes bring with crowd-sourced virtual map showing problem areas.

Using information collected from Ford models equipped with on-board sensors, the virtual map crowdsources the location of potholes from other drivers and shows them on in-car display.

In addition to showing where potholes have formed and how potentially damaging they might be, the real-time map would have the capability to suggest an alternative route if appropriate.

“A virtual pothole map could highlight a new pothole the minute it appears and immediately warn other drivers there is a hazard ahead,” said Ford engineer Uwe Hoffmann. “Our cars already feature sensors that detect potholes and now we are looking at taking this to the next level.”

Ford is trialing the system — which may eventually include cameras, modems and a suspension system that automatically adjusts — on private roads and plans to test it in public this winter.

For now all of the above is taking place just in the UK, but at least it’s a start.

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