Ford create “world’s worst road” 0

Not a PR disaster and not an accident; though a seemingly strange thing to celebrate, Ford are proud to show off their ‘world’s worst’ creation.

Ford created the pothole laden track of road that stretches for over a mile as part of a fifty mile stretch of test tracks in order to test their vehicles under real road conditions, after it was revealed that the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) responded to more than 25,000 pothole related incidents in 2015, a 25% increase from the year before.

Recognising that damaged roads are a potent issue to drivers across the world, Ford created the disastrous stretch of road at its site in Belgium to replicate some of the most likely hazards drivers face all over. The intention behind the driving minefield is to concentrate a lot of the common damages inflicted upon vehicles due to poor road conditions in order to build more robust chassis systems and improve designs so that future generations of cars are better equipped to deal with any road hazards they might come across.  With potholes causing tyre, wheel and suspension damage that can cost drivers up to £300 at a time and the poor conditions caused by lack of maintenance on many European roads contributing to nearly a third of accidents each year, Ford’s terrible creation might just be one of the better inventions in a while. The road attempts to emulate over one hundred different potential hazards from as many as twenty five countries across the world.

Speaking about the thought that went in to the idea, Eric-Jan Scharlee, Ford’s durability technical specialist said “From a rutted traffic junction in China to a bumpy German side-street, this road is a rogues’ gallery of the most bruising surfaces that our customers might encounter. By incorporating these real-world hazards into our test facilities we can develop vehicles equipped to deal with these challenging conditions.” Engineers at the terrible terrain in Belgium drive over the potholes and assorted evils, that include obstacles as diverse as granite blocks from Belgium and cobbles from Paris, at speeds of almost 50mph. Technology similar to that used by seismologists studying earthquakes is then used to record the strain on the suspension system. This has led to the innovation of Continuous Control Damping with special Pothole Mitigation technology that is designed to adjust the suspension when it detects a wheel has dropped into a pothole, and can help protect the suspension from further damage.

For glass-half-full types, this is a very uplifting news story. Not only are technological advances being made, but Ford is taking something that is bad and putting it to good use.