Car-to-Car Communication: Preventing Accidents in the Future

By Ford Social Member

No one really likes a backseat driver, right? That’s mostly because the person tends to provide nothing useful to your driving experience. But what if the information you received could actually warn you of a potential collision with another vehicle or some other road hazard?

Ford is now the first automaker to build a functional  prototype that demonstrates how intelligent vehicles of the future (and experts think that could be the near future) could talk to each other in real time through Wi-Fi and GPS to help reduce crashes.

Wireless communication could also lead to a more sustainable transportation system. Think of it like this: When there’s an accident, it creates congestion. That results in billions of gallons of fuel wasted each year, not to mention the time you're wasting while sitting in traffic. In October, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) filed a report on the potential safety benefits of vehicle-to-vehicle communication, and it estimated that intelligent vehicles could help in as many as 4.3 million police-reported light-vehicle crashes annually – or about 81 percent of all light-vehicle crashes involving unimpaired drivers.

Unlike radar-based safety features, which spot hazards in the driver’s line of sight, an advanced Wi-Fi–based radio system allows a full-range, 360-degree detection of potentially dangerous situations, particularly useful when the driver’s vision is obstructed. Intelligent vehicles would talk wirelessly through the Wi-Fi signals, or dedicated short-range communications, on a secured channel allocated by the Federal Communications Commission.

For example, you could be alerted if your vehicle is headed for a collision at an intersection, when a vehicle ahead stops or slows suddenly or when a traffic pattern changes on a busy highway. The system also could warn you of a risk of collision when changing lanes, approaching a stationary or parked vehicle or if another driver loses control. And traffic could be avoided through a network of intelligent vehicles and infrastructure that would process real-time traffic and road information to allow drivers to opt for a less congested route. You know how kids these days don't really grasp how people used typewriters before the advent of computers? Imagine a world where the word "traffic" would be old-timey.

After a decade of research, Ford announced earlier this year an accelerated development of its intelligent vehicle work, doubling its research investment and convening 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 conveniences. Ford engineers are currently researching and developing future applications that will offer more than visual warnings to drivers – priming safety systems and taking accident avoidance measures in response to warnings from other intelligent vehicles.

There’s more exciting progress: Ford is partnering with other automakers and 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. This public-private partnership will include the world’s first government-sponsored driving clinics beginning in summer 2011, for which the company will contribute two prototype Ford Taurus sedans. The Department of Transportation (DOT) Intelligent Transportation Systems will head the research, continuing to coordinate with a coalition of automakers organized by the Crash Avoidance Metrics Partnership (CAMP), which is a joint research group headed by Ford and General Motors. The partnership is working to develop interoperability standards in advance of completing the research phase in 2013.

“Ford has laid the groundwork to give vehicles a voice with SYNC and Wi-Fi technology,” said Jim Vondale, Director, Ford Automotive Safety Office. “Now we’re working with other automakers and government leaders worldwide to develop common standards globally to bring intelligent vehicles to market quicker and more affordably.”

Many of the current technologies from Ford show how intelligent vehicles will be able to help drivers, such as the collision warning with brake support and Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®) with cross-traffic alert rely on radar sensors to detect vehicles or objects close to the vehicle. By mutually sharing information on vehicle position, speed, direction of travel and even telemetry from technologies such as the Electronic Stability Program or the Traction Control System, connected vehicles could be warned.

“Ford has pioneered connectivity in modern vehicles with SYNC,” said Mike Shulman, Technical Leader, Ford Research and Innovation. “We believe advanced Wi-Fi for intelligent vehicles could be added to smartphones or GPS systems and simply connect to SYNC like today’s phones.”
Jose Luis Ayerve 05/29/2011
Excelent idea!
Ray 05/27/2011
One Ford, The only ome!
Ben Hiler 05/27/2011
I think that is a excellent idea. Using this you could take away the driver all together and so the vehicle could drive itself. The only driving skill would be the people who drive outside of roads. So that texting or drinking or any of those factors would not cause accidents.
Isaac J. 05/27/2011
All I can say is that Ford has once again, did it again. Ford fan and supporter for life!
deng haibo 05/27/2011
it is so excited!
Nick Ansloan 05/26/2011
Hey I invented that, well so did every one
Ryan Collinson 05/26/2011
they could probably set up an aftermarket system too like GPS. Judge your speed, set off an alarm if you're coming to an intersection with someone that could t bone you because they're not going to stop at a red light.
Mqoue 05/26/2011
Can we get each human to come with one of these... we hate bumping into people...
Grant Gentry 05/26/2011
I see nothing but technology making generations of worse drivers. Cars that parallel park themselves, warn you of potential accidents, etc. Soon people will rely so heavily on these things, actual skilled driving will become a thing of the past. Texting is the perfect example. Most teens would rather do this than call someone on the phone... Now, has anyone noticed the verbal communication skills of most teens? Its really, really bad, and getting worse.
Nils Holgerson 05/26/2011
thats good because it will warning for a accident
Mitch 05/26/2011
Good luck with that. We live in a society that panics and needs new legislation as soon as something bad happens. First time some kid blames the "electronic's" for killing someone they will be illegal to use.
Drivers already to often neglect the fact that they are personally responsible for every action every movement every event that takes place from the moment they turn the ignition. Scrap the multi million dollar project i will sell you some common sense at a third the price.
Jackie G. Morgan 05/26/2011
Oh great, the next generation want even have to learn to drive. I personally like driving, I don't need my car to tell me what to do- I let it know what I want it to do. That"s why I drive a performance white mustang!
Ben Rowlatt 05/26/2011
yes great idea
Royal Oaks Taxidermy 05/26/2011
Yes I can see it now.. My F350 would be growling at the little honda saying Move it pipsqueak.. IM bigger
Tim Kerger 05/26/2011
Yep. Ford is leading the way.
Josh Huddleston 05/26/2011
do you know how many arguments would occur
Johnnie Warner 05/26/2011
FORD the best never rest!!!!!!!!
Randall Biggpoppa Freeman 05/26/2011
Fords taking over
Car-to-Car Communication: Preventing Accidents in the Future
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