Jaguar Land Rover announced a research project on a new connected car technology that will allow a vehicle to identify the location and severity of potholes, broken drains and manhole covers. This technology would then share this data in real-time via the cloud with other vehicles and with road authorities to help them prioritise repairs. The next stage of the project at Jaguar Land Rover’s Advanced Research Centre in the UK is to install new road surface sensing technology in the Range Rover Evoque research vehicle, including an advanced forward-facing stereo digital camera.
If a car can receive a warning from another vehicle about severe potholes or broken manholes ahead, then drivers would be able to slow down and avoid the danger – or the car could adjust suspension settings to reduce the impact and smooth the ride. This could help reduce the potential for punctures, wheel and vehicle damage as well as road accidents. “While this gives our customers a more comfortable ride, we think there is a huge opportunity to turn the information from these vehicle sensors into ‘big data’ and share it for the benefit of other road users. This could help prevent billions of pounds of vehicle damage and make road repairs more effective,” said Dr Mike Bell, Global Connected Car Director, Jaguar Land Rover.
Jaguar Land Rover’s research team will also be working with innovation partner Coventry City Council to understand how road profile information could be shared with road authorities, and exactly what data would be most useful for their roads maintenance teams to identify and prioritise repairs. “We already collect lots of data which we monitor very carefully ourselves but having this kind of extra information might allow us to further improve our maintenance programmes which would save the taxpayer money,” said Councillor Rachel Lancaster, Cabinet Member for Public Services at Coventry City Council. 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.