Numerous automakers have begun preparing for a connected-car future, but Ford is the latest to step into the arena. The automaker announced on Monday that it will use 5G networks to integrate vehicle-to-everything technology in all of its vehicles by 2022.
Ford calls the technology C-V2X, or "cellular vehicle-to-everything" technology. However, despite the cellular name, the system is completely wireless and does not require a cell tower to bounce information to and from cars. Dedicated short-range communication networks are similar, but won't utilize a 5G network. Toyota and Lexus previously announced it would use DSRC networks for its V2X technology and urged other automakers to adopt the standard.
Ford signed an agreement with Qualcomm to study 5G networks at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, but the automaker said it will continue to work with companies and regulatory bodies to set up an environment that encourages C-V2X use.
Like other V2X systems, C-V2X will allow cars to communicate with other vehicles and warn drivers of what lies ahead. For example, a car stuck in traffic can communicate with a vehicle approaching the deadlock and warn the driver. Cars could warn others of a crash, potholes, icy conditions, and work with other infrastructure to manage traffic patterns. We've seen some of the technology trickle into production via Audi's traffic light information system, which can tell drivers how long before a light changes from red to green.
The goal is to warn drivers of events ahead before they come close to encountering a hazard. C-V2X takes things a step further, however. The technology can also work with a pedestrian's cell phone on a 5G network to convey his or her location in reference to the vehicle. Drivers could have a better understanding of their surroundings even if they don't see a pedestrian in the area.
Ford said it will equip every vehicle in its lineup with a traditional cellular connectivity system by the end of 2019 before C-V2X begins to roll out in 2022. It will be included as part of Ford's Co-Pilot 360, which bundles active safety features as standard for every vehicle.