Ford’s new Fusion V6 Sport features unique technology to avoid damage from potholes.
With U.S. car owners spending $3 billion annually to repair cars damaged by potholes, the news could not be more welcome.
Ford says the trick to its new technology is that it keeps the wheel travelling over the pothole from dropping down into the interior of the hole. In that split second, the tire is held up from the hole. As the vehicle travels over the hole, the tire’s impact with the far edge of the pothole is much less jarring and damaging.
Ford’s new system uses 12 high-resolution sensors that scope the territory approaching the vehicle to detect the potholes. When one is detected, the system’s controller sends a signal to new computer-controlled shock absorbers. By continuously controlling the dampening, Ford says the effects are dramatic.
Interestingly, the system’s operation is somewhat counter-intuitive. Normally, we associate softer shocks with a smoother ride over bad roads. However, by making the damper as stiff as possible, it prevents the car’s springs from pushing the wheel down into the hole.
Jason Michener, Ford continuously controlled damping engineering expert, says the effect is quite noticeable. “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.”
Ford has been developing the new technology at proving grounds in the U.S. and Europe. Real-world testing has been performed much more widely including in Asia, Australia and South America.
In Europe, the system will roll out more widely to the Mondeo, Galaxy and S-MAX. Here in the U.S., the 2017 Fusion Sport will be the vehicle on which the technology debuts.
Look for it this summer when the new Fusion Sport arrives at dealerships.