Ford’s new Focus is so smart it can detect potholes.
That’s sure to be a big hit with Aussie drivers because some of our roads are less than perfect.
The preventative system senses when a wheel is falling into a pothole and adjusts the suspension to reduce wheel travel.
Because the tyre and wheel do not penetrate as far as they normally would, they don’t strike the opposite side of the pothole as harshly.
The rear suspension can respond even faster than the front, with a signal from the front wheel providing a pre-warning to the rear wheel before it reaches the pothole.
This all happens in a split second.
“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,” Vehicle Dynamics Supervisor, Guy Mathot, said.
“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.”
The pothole detection system is part of the car’s optional Continuously Controlled Damping technology, which every 2 milliseconds monitors suspension, body, steering and braking inputs, and adjusts the vehicle’s suspension responses for the smoothest ride quality.
The system was develops using a specially created road at the company’s test facility in Belgium, which consists of precise replicas of some of the worst potholes and road hazards from around the world.
Engineers further refine the systems with hundreds of hours of testing on a diverse range of European public roads, monitoring loads and strains with equipment similar to that used by seismologists to study earthquakes.