Cincinnati OH — Last week I attended Ford’s Intelligent Vehicle Demonstration down at Coney Island in Cincinnati Ohio. There, Ford demonstrated how their new Intelligent Vehicle technology communicates with other vehicles on the road through Wi-Fi. Currently vehicles on the road use a radar system that bounces off objects to give the car information on impending danger. This technology is great, however the biggest problem with it is its range. By using Wi-Fi you can connect to cars that are up to 300 meters out and receive any information those cars are sending even if they are around objects.
During our demonstration we went through several driving scenarios with two other cars that would normally result in a wreck, but thanks to the technology we were able to avoid it. The vehicle we were in was a 2012 Explorer; the other two cars were Fiestas and were outfitted with the same IV (Intelligent Vehicle) technology as in the Explorer so they could communicate with each other. Listed below are just a few of the demonstrations Ford used to showcase the technology.
Three Car Pileup
We lined up our Explorer with the two Fiestas directly in front; we’ll call the vehicle in front Fiesta 1 and the one in the middle Fiesta 2. The Fiestas took off and we followed close behind Fiesta2. When we reached a certain part of the parking lot Fiesta 1 slammed on its brakes, but Fiesta 2 didn’t show signs of slowing down. In a normal radar based safety system our car would of only been tracking Fiesta 2 and since it hadn’t slowed down the radar wouldn’t of picked up on the danger ahead. With the IV technology our car was able to see around Fiesta 2 and notice that Fiesta 1 had abruptly stopped and if we didn’t do the same we would end up in a wreck. So our vehicle alerted us by sounding an audible alarm and flashing red lights onto the windshield in front of the drivers view. The driver noticed the alerts and immediately put on the brakes. Our car avoided running into the back of Fiesta 2 which would then have run into the back of Fiesta1 resulting in a nasty wreck.
Overtaking Slow Driver
This scenario is one of my favorite of the day. In this scenario we were behind a vehicle on a two lane road where it was legal to pass. The Ford representative set the scene as a foggy morning and the car ahead of us was going really slow or broke down. We couldn’t see the oncoming traffic because of the fog so we didn’t know if a car will be heading at us when we would try to pass. We put on our turn signal to begin overtaking the vehicle. Once we initiated that signal the car immediately started scanning the other lane to see if it was safe for us to pass. Our car instantly alerted us of an oncoming car and we avoided a head on collision by staying in our lane. Now this was a clear day in a parking lot so we obviously could see the oncoming car approaching us from a mile away. But what if it was a foggy morning and you can’t see 50 yards ahead of you or even if you can’t see around the vehicle in front of you it is nice to be able to know what’s ahead before you commit to the oncoming lane.
The Ford reps put together a make shift intersection to demonstrate these next two scenario. We pulled our car up to the intersection as if it was a stop sign. We had a semi trailer on our right to act as an obstacle so we couldn’t see any oncoming cars approaching from the right. We began making our way out into the intersection because we saw no oncoming vehicles. Then the car let out a warning and we immediately stopped. A car that we couldn’t see from the right because of the obstacle passed right in front of our car. A sure collision if it wasn’t for the IV technology. The other intersection scenario was a vehicle running a red light. So we backed up our explorer pointing at the intersection Explorer and the Fiesta was pointed at the same intersection. We got the go ahead and began the approach and both cars stepped on the gas. The lane we were in theoretically had the green light and the lane the Fiesta was in had the red light. The semi trailer was still there to act as an obstacle so as we got closer to the intersection both cars lost sight of each other. We were just about to cross the intersection when our car let out its warning. Our car slammed on its brakes and we were able to avoid a side impact collision as the Fiesta drove past us.
The Future of Motoring
This technology is about 5-10 years down the road and it’s not only Ford working on it either. In order for this technology to work effectively other car companies must have similar technology as well equipped in their vehicles. The technology isn’t just limited to telling you if a car has stopped ahead of you either. A vehicle could slip on black ice and then send out a message to other cars behind it to warn them of the road danger ahead. This kind of communication could even free up congestion by vehicles telling other vehicles of construction or collisions ahead and re routing traffic around it. This would in turn avoid more collisions that occur during heavy traffic. Even though all car manufactures have to have the same communication systems in every vehicle there is still room for customization to keep the market competitive. For example Ford may put in their vehicles the ability to spot an open parking space in a parking lot with the IV technology, where Chevy might not have that feature. Even the alert message isn’t set in stone. You could have a voice come up and tell you something is going to happen or even have the information display on your windshield of how far you are from the car ahead of you. Some companies have gone as far as to see if people would like having the whole windshield light up red. This technology is still in research and development stage but Ford, as far as they know it, are the only ones who are at a point where they can demonstrate it to the public safely.
You can watch Ford demonstrating the technology in the video below. Enjoy
If you have any questions regarding Intelligent Vehicle Technology or any questions regarding technology currently found in your vehicle, Lebanon Ford myTech Team is here to help. You can reach us by phone at 855-567-0440 or by email at email@example.com
Check out the PR and video from Ford on Intelligent Vehicle technology by clicking the jump.
Ford Accelerates Intelligent Vehicle Research, Creating ‘Talking’ Vehicles to Make Roads Safer