Ford Intelligent Vehicles preview
Today, Ford convened a panel of auto industry, transportation and technology visionaries at Dodger Stadium to experience the technology and discuss how intelligent vehicles could soon lead to breakthroughs in a more sustainable transportation system. On June 1, Ford will conduct a similar event in San Francisco.
“Intelligent vehicles 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.
An October, 2010 NHTSA report on the potential safety benefits of vehicle-to-vehicle communications estimates that intelligent vehicles could help in as many as 4.3 million police-reported, light-vehicle crashes annually, or approximately 81 percent of all light-vehicle crashes involving unimpaired drivers. Experts say intelligent vehicles could be on the road in the near future.
Ford is the first automaker to build functional prototype vehicles to preview the technology, and is conducting a series of events across the country to explore the real-life benefits and near-term feasibility to save drivers’ lives, fuel and time spent on the road. In addition to Los Angeles, Ford’s demonstration tour has stopped in Washington, DC and New York, NY and will visit San Francisco on June 1.
The May 25 panel in Los Angeles is moderated by John Gartner, Senior Analyst at Pike Research. Panelists include:
-- Hamid Bahadori, Auto Club of Southern California, Manager, Transportation Policy and Programs
-- Alan Clelland, Iteris, Senior Vice President, Transportation Systems
-- Hasan Ikhrata, Southern California Association of Governments, Executive Director
-- Kevin Klowden, Milken Institute, Managing Economist and Director of the California Center
-- James Moore, Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Public Policy and Management, and Civil Engineering, University of Southern California
How it works
Ford’s 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.
The possibility of reduced congestion
By reducing crashes, intelligent vehicles could ease traffic delays, which would save drivers both time and fuel costs. Congestion also could be avoided through a network of intelligent vehicles and infrastructure that would process real-time traffic and road information and allow drivers to choose less congested routes.
According to Texas Transportation Institute’s (TTI) 2010 Urban Mobility Report, traffic congestion continues to worsen in American cities of all sizes, annually wasting nearly 3.9 billion gallons of fuel in 2009 and costing the average Los Angeles commuter $1,464. Leading factors in traffic delays are caused by accidents, breakdowns and road debris, TTI maintains.
“We are not far from the day when vehicles will operate like mobile devices with four wheels, constantly exchanging information and communicating with our environment to do things like shorten commute times, improve fuel economy and generally help us more easily navigate life on the road,” said Paul Mascarenas, vice president, Ford Research and Innovation and chief technical officer. “A smart network of intelligent vehicles has the potential to benefit drivers in many ways.”