MERCEDES-BENZ has developed a new connected car technology that alerts drivers to upcoming potholes or significant bumps in the road ahead.
If a car’s chassis control unit detects a specific level of sudden suspension compression and rebound, as might occur when hitting a pothole or speed-bump, it will activate Mercedes’s “Car-to-X” communication system sending the information to the Mercedes-Benz Cloud.
Drivers in the area with a Mercedes me account will see an icon appear on their navigation map and, when approaching the pothole will receive an audio warning saying, “Look out, pothole!” or “Attention, speed bump!”
The function comes as standard on the newest S-Class and EQS models and as an option on the latest C-Class, though it will be available to download for those with Mercedes cars from 2016 onwards.
In cars fitted with Mercedes’ Car-to-X, the company claims its stability control systems detects snow or ice and will transmit that information to other drivers over the air, to alert them to possible danger. It can do the same when it detects motorway crosswinds, according to Mercedes.
In addition, if a driver switches on their wipers to their fastest setting in heavy rain, the car picks up on the possibility of a sudden downpour and also alerts other drivers accordingly, the car maker says.
It’s also capable of communicating things like breakdowns, fog, accidents and other potential obstacles in the road, all of which will be communicated to other cars via the navigation icons and aural alerts.
According to a survey last year by car maintenance chain, Kwik Fit, damage from potholes costs UK motorists over £1.2 billion every year, with an average repair bill of £115 from wrecked tyres, wheels and suspension components.
Other studies put the figure at closer to £4 billion with Northwest England and Glasgow being considered the worst parts of the country in terms of road surfaces.
The majority of motorists surveyed in studies say they’d be willing to pay increased council tax if it meant that poor road surfaces were dealt with properly.
The RAC apparently attends up to 1,000 pothole-related breakdowns per month while potholes can also pose a particular danger to cyclists.
It seems that despite many councils’ best efforts, in certain parts of the country, Mercedes’s pothole alert system is about to start working overtime.
- After reading how Mercedes Car-to-X technology can warn drivers about potholes and other road hazards, you might be interested to read that a single pothole payout cost a council nearly £250,000 last year
- Also check out why the Mercedes S-Class is too complicated for Jeremy Clarkson
- Read how JCB unveiled a machine that fixes potholes in eight minutes