According to Ford’s research, the average driver spends more than 30-percent of his time commuting in heavy traffic. By the automaker’s own logic, that’s time that could be better spent than inching forward, minute after minute, to keep up with the commuter in front of you.
That’s why Ford has developed something it calls “Traffic Jam Assist,” based on currently-existing technologies (and similar to Cadillac's recently announced SuperCruise system). Using a combination of adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping cameras and intelligent braking, Traffic Jam Assist will allow drivers stuck in traffic to relinquish control of their car and focus on something more productive, similar to Cadillac's recently announced "SuperCruise" system.
Drivers could, for example, clear e-mail, eat breakfast, apply makeup or shave, without fear of rear-ending the car in front of them (not that this fear prohibits drivers from engaging in these behaviors today). When the traffic jam is cleared, the car signals the driver to resume driving.
On paper, we think this sounds like a great idea, since we’ve spent plenty of time commuting in various metropolitan areas across the United States. Still, we wonder where Ford has tested this, since any place we’ve ever commuted has drivers far more ruthless, impatient and aggressive than shown in the video above.
Leave one inch of excess room, and another harried motorist will exploit it, often accompanied by a horn blast from the driver behind you. If the Traffic Jam Assist really does leave this much space in between cars, we suspect that drivers using it won’t be making much forward progress.
Don’t look for Traffic Jam Assist to debut on a Ford model in the immediate future (although Audi insists its variant is coming soon), since there are still issues to be resolved (many regarding liability, we’d suspect). In the mean time, however, Ford is planning to broaden the scope of its active park assist technology to help drivers with perpendicular parking, too.