While talking cars may bring back memories of a computerized voice reminding you that your door is ajar, the future could see a completely different type of talking car. Ford is rapidly expanding its commitment to intelligent vehicles that wirelessly talk to each other, warning of potential dangers to enhance safety and flag impending traffic congestion to help improve the environment. With this “intelligent vehicle” technology, drivers could be alerted at unsafe intersections where their view is compromised or where another vehicle is not stopping for a red light.
“Ford believes intelligent vehicles that talk to each other through advanced Wi-Fi are the next frontier of collision avoidance innovations that could revolutionize the driving experience and hold the potential of helping reduce many crashes,” said Sue Cischke, group vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering.
Ford is building the first-ever prototype intelligent vehicles that will tour the U.S. beginning this spring. The company will provide additional prototypes for the Department of Transportation’s world-first research clinics expected to begin this summer.
“NHTSA estimates that 81 percent of all the vehicle-to-vehicle crashes with unimpaired drivers can be addressed by this technology, So we think safety is the tremendous opportunity,” said Mike Shulman, technical leader, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering.
The Ford vehicle communications research technology allows vehicles to talk wirelessly with one another using advanced Wi-Fi signals, or dedicated short-range communications, on a secured channel allocated by the Federal Communications Commission. Unlike radar-based safety features, which identify hazards within a direct line of sight, the Wi-Fi-based radio system allows full-range, 360-degree detection of potentially dangerous situations, such as when a driver’s vision is obstructed.
For example, drivers could be alerted if their vehicle is on path to collide with another vehicle at an intersection, when a vehicle ahead stops or slows suddenly or when a traffic pattern changes on a busy highway. The systems also could warn drivers if there is a risk of collision when changing lanes, approaching a stationary or parked vehicle, or if another driver loses control.
After a decade of research, Ford plans a new 20-member task force – consisting of company planners, engineers and scientists from around the world with expertise in safety, eco-mobility, infotainment and driver convenience – to accelerate development of intelligent vehicles with features that provide a range of benefits to consumers.
Ford also is doubling its intelligent vehicle research investment, building on the company’s SYNC® and MyFord Touch™ innovations. The goal is to define the next 10 years of safety, convenience and driver assistance, and strengthen the company’s position as the global industry leader in connected vehicle technology.
Ford is partnering with other automakers, the federal government, as well as local and county road commissions to create a common language that ensures all vehicles can talk to each other based on a common communication standard.