Ford has released some innovation teasers resulting from its participation Safe Intelligent Mobility – Testfield Germany (simTD), a four-year joint industry research project by leading German automotive manufacturers, component suppliers, communication companies, research institutions and public authorities.
The £45 million simTD project, included £26 million of direct project promotional support provided by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) together with the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The project, intended to make roads safer by removing human error in driving decisions - to close in on development of the ‘intelligent vehicle’, began last November.
Ford has now highlighted an experimental technology called “Electronic Brake Light” that transmits a wireless signal to illuminate a dashboard light on following vehicles.
The technology is among 20 systems Ford tested in the joint industry research project finds intelligent transport systems could reduce congestion and potentially improve safety.
Specially-equipped Ford S-MAX models were used to test the technologies for simTD; Ford also tested Obstacle Warning, which alerts drivers to objects on the road, and Traffic Sign Assistant, which provides up-to-date information from traffic management centres.
More than 41,000 hours and almost a million miles on road and test track
The simTD field tests involved 500 test drivers in 120 vehicles - including 20 Ford S-MAX models. Testers logged more than 41,000 hours and almost a million miles on public roads and an enclosed test track in Germany.
“Car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communications represent one of the next major advancements in vehicle safety,” said Paul Mascarenas, Ford’s chief technical officer and vice president, Ford Research and Innovation. “Ford is committed to further real-world testing here and around the world with the goal of implementation in the foreseeable future.”
Ford used specially-equipped Ford S-MAX models to help test the potential of car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communication; also testing Obstacle Warning system, which alerts to the presence, position and type of potentially hazardous objects in the road, and Traffic Sign Assistant, that keeps in contact with traffic management centres for up-to-date information.
Engineers from Ford’s European Research Centre in Aachen, Germany, led the Electronic Brake Light development, testing and data analysis.
Further technologies tested for simTD included:
Public Traffic Management, which provides exact traffic prognosis based on comprehensive information; this includes identifying likely traffic scenarios and their impact at the point in the journey when they are encountered rather than at the point of departure
In-car Internet Access, which, for example enables the driver to receive information about free parking spaces or check traffic hotspots by receiving up-to-date pictures from traffic cameras.
More Ford car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure projects
Ford is also engaged in the European Commission-supported field operational tests DRIVE C2X, and in the US contributing to Safety Pilot Model Deployment, a field test of more than 2,800 vehicles in cooperation with the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Ford said its objective of harmonising standards for messaging and hardware globally that would enable the delivery of new technologies faster, more efficiently, and more economically.