Ford wants to make harsh rides a thing of the past with their latest technology. Dubbed the Pothole Detection System, it is an active suspension system that aims to lessen the impact harshness when going over rough surfaces. Ford claims that, with this system, it will also spare motorists the hassles of blowing a tire or damaging a wheel when running over potholes, which can result in some pretty hefty repair bills in the long run.
The system has actually been around since late 2016 and it's found as an option in Ford's D-segment sedan, the Fusion (also known as the Mondeo in Europe as a hatch or wagon). However, that technology is trickling down to the smaller cars of the Ford lineup and it has made its way to the all-new Focus.
“Our engineers are always searching for the roughest roads to really test our suspension to the limit, but more and more we're noticing that the rough roads are finding us. Potholes are a problem that isn’t going away anytime soon, but with our advanced suspension technology for all-new Focus, we've been able to reduce their impact,” said Guy Mathot, Ford Focus vehicle dynamics supervisor.
So, how does the Pothole Detection System work? A barrage of sensors constantly scans the road ahead and relays that information to the computer controlled active suspension. The moment the sensors detect the edge of the pothole, the car’s computer adjusts the dampers accordingly. The idea here is to stop the wheel (or wheels) from falling into a pothole by limiting how far the wheel drops. Ford says that the result is a smoother ride as the wheels do not hit opposite side of the pothole as harshly on exit.
Ford adds that the system has been extensively tested in around the US, Europe and their own proving grounds. Will the Pothole Detection System hold up in this part of the world? They won't be offering it in parts of Asia just yet but given the state of the roads around the country, it's a novel idea from Ford to soften the blow.