DEARBORN — Ford Motor Co. is researching and developing intelligent, next-generation driving technologies designed to help address traffic jams and other future mobility challenges that come with rapid urbanization and population growth around the world.
Ford’s early prototypes of two such technologies – Traffic Jam Assist and an advanced version of active park assist, evolved to offer hands-free perpendicular parking — are designed to interact with a vehicle’s surroundings, reduce driver stress and help reduce traffic gridlock.
“Developing these technologies is part of the first step in a journey toward a more connected future,” said Paul Mascarenas, Ford chief technical officer and vice president, research and innovation. “It’s an undertaking we believe will save time, conserve resources, lower emissions, improve safety and help reduce driver stress.”
Traffic Jam Assist is an intelligent driving technology that Ford is developing for the mid-term. It uses radar and camera technology to help a vehicle keep pace with other vehicles in traffic and provide automated steering control to stay in the current lane, reducing driver stress and potentially improving vehicle flow.
Individual simulation studies have found that where 25 percent of vehicles on a stretch of road are equipped to automatically follow the traffic ahead, journey times can be reduced by 37.5 percent and delays reduced by 20 percent – saving millions of gallons of fuel each year.
The developing technology would be able to respond to changing traffic situations ahead and communicate any developments to the driver. Traffic Jam Assist would also incorporate features to help ensure the driver remains alert and in contact with the vehicle controls, even when the system is active. It could also be overridden at any time.
Ford plans to further develop its active park assist technology; Ford is adding perpendicular parking to the parallel parking maneuvers already possible.
The enhanced system would harness the technologies introduced with active park assist. It uses ultrasonic sensors to identify suitable parking spaces, for width rather than length, and then steers the vehicle into them using electric power-assisted steering (EPAS).
For more information visit http://corporate.ford.com.