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Ford’s R720m future tech project

2013-06-21 07:21

FORD’S FUTURE CAR TECH: Ford tests it electronic brake light as part of 20 possible technologies that could make its way into future vehicles.Image: Ford

Ford has tested an early warning “brake light” that can warn other drivers even if they're around a curve or behind other traffic. 

The technology is one of 20 potential systems Ford tested as part of its Safe Intelligent Mobility Testfield Germany, a four-year industry research project.

500 TEST DRIVERS, 120 VEHICLES

In emergency braking situations, the experimental electronic brake light transmits a radio signal to illuminate on the faci of following vehicles. According to Ford, the technology could enable drivers to brake earlier and potentially mitigate or avoid collisions.

The tests took place near Frankfurt and involved 500 test drivers in 120 vehicles, including 20 Ford S-MAX units. The test drivers logged more than 41 000 hours and 1.6-million kilometres on public roads and a test track.

Ford’s chief technical officer and vice president of research, Paul Mascarenas, said: “Car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communications is one of the next major advancements in vehicle safety. Ford is committed to further real-world testing here and around the world with the goal of implementation in the foreseeable future.”

FUTURE VEHICLE TECH

Using modified S-MAX models, Ford also tested its obstacle warning system, which alerts drivers to the presence, position and type of potentially hazardous objects in the road.

Other technologies tested:
•  Public Traffic Management – A system that provides exact traffic analysis including identifying likely traffic scenarios and their impact at the point in the journey when they are encountered rather than at the point of departure.

•  Internet Access -  Technology that would enable drivers to receive information on parking spaces or check traffic hotspots by receiving images from traffic cameras.

The funding for the project was approximately R720-million, of which R407-million was provided by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) together with the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
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