Ford explores smartphone-based tech that alerts driver of potential collisions

Ford explores smartphone-based tech that alerts driver of potential collisions

MANILA: Ford Motor Company is exploring a new smartphone-based communications device that might assist in alerting drivers to pedestrians, bikers, and other road users, including those who are approaching a driver's route but are obscured from vision.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • What kind of safety feature is Ford aiming to explore?

    The proposed smartphone software transmits a pedestrian's location to a linked Ford car using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) messaging. Ford Sync can warn drivers if the car detects a possible crash risk by displaying images of pedestrians, bicyclists, and other road users on the in-car screen and emitting an audio alert.
  • How will BLE warn drivers of potential crashes?

    By interacting with other devices that are similarly equipped and have a suitable range for alerts, BLE could support other technologies and perhaps improve safety by increasing awareness of other road users, such as bicycles and pedestrians.
  • The proposed smartphone software transmits a pedestrian's location to a linked Ford car using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) messaging.

    Ford Sync can warn drivers if the car detects a possible crash risk by displaying images of pedestrians, bicyclists, and other road users on the in-car screen and emitting an audio alert.

    According to Jim Buczkowski, Ford Executive Director, Research and Advanced Engineering: “Newer Ford vehicles now have Ford Co-Pilot360 Technology can identify and help warn drivers of pedestrians, bikers, scooter riders and others — and even apply brakes if drivers do not respond in time."

    In order to enable people drive even more securely on roads that are increasingly shared by individuals using two feet or two wheels, we are currently looking into ways to expand vehicle sensing capacity for regions drivers cannot see.”

    Ford Directional Audio Alerts

    Ford is a founding member of the Vulnerable Road User Safety Consortium (VRUSC), a consortia program of SAE Industries Technology Consortia Programs (SAE ITC), an affiliate of SAE Group.

    The VRUSC was formed by vehicle, bicycle, ridesharing and technology companies to find technological solutions to rising crashes with pedestrians, bicyclists and others. Tome Software founded the Bike-to-Vehicle Advisory Board that grew into the new consortium.

    According to data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, road fatalities rose 13% to 7,342 in 2021 compared to the previous year, while the number of bike traffic fatalities rose five percent to 1,000 during the same time period.

    In order to connect with other devices that are similarly equipped, BLE connection technology develops wireless personal area networks using radio waves in the 2.4 GHz range.

    Without requiring any hardware modifications to the vehicle, it is already extensively used in smartphones and is compatible with Ford SYNC connected vehicle technology.

    Ford Ranger

    By interacting with other devices that are similarly equipped and have a suitable range for alerts, BLE could support other technologies and perhaps improve safety by increasing awareness of other road users, such as bicycles and pedestrians.

    Additionally, because BLE does not rely on line-of-sight detection like cameras or radar does, it is possible to detect people who are hidden behind objects like buildings. This is particularly pertinent to the strain of driving in large cities on shared roadways.

    Smartphones, fitness trackers, entertainment systems, location-based services, and many more personal electronics products utilize BLE technology. It operates for a very long time on very little power from batteries the size of a dime.

    Pairing two devices together is a common task in consumer BLE applications. Ford's idea, however, makes use of BLE as a beacon that can detect numerous other, similarly equipped devices nearby without pairing.

    Photos from Ford

    Also read: Ford unveils smarter, more powerful all-new Mustang

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