Potholes accelerate wear and tear in a car's underchassis, causing bushings, shock mounts and dampers to give up early during the car's lifespan. According to the Automobile Association of America (AAA), pothole damage costs U.S. drivers approximately $3 billion a year. Ford has now come up with a solution to lessen wear and save owners future bills.
Ford has developed an active suspension that helps the car “glide” over potholes. Called the Continuously Controlled Damper or CCD, this feature will be available in the 2017 Ford Fusion Sport. “The new Fusion V6 Sport substantially reduces the harsh impact potholes often deliver. Our new pothole mitigation technology works by actually detecting potholes and ‘catching’ the car’s wheel before it has a chance to drop all the way into the pothole.” said Jason Michener, Ford continuously controlled damping engineering expert.
As demonstrated by the video, the system works by collecting multiple signals from 12 high-resolution sensors. These sensors scan the road every two milliseconds and the moment it detects the edge of the pothole, the car’s computer adjusts the dampers accordingly. In Ford's words, the dampers go to their stiffest settings so the wheel doesn’t fall as far into the pothole. Because the tire and wheel don’t drop as far, they don’t strike the opposite side of the pothole as harshly. The rear suspension can respond even faster, with a signal from the front wheel providing a pre-warning to the rear wheel well before it reaches the pothole.
CCD does more than soften the blow when driving through potholes. The system also comes with two modes, namely comfort and sport. Normal mode balances comfort and handling for daily driving, while sport mode stiffens the dampers for less body roll.