PRETORIA, South Africa – There are many times when knowing what is around the corner could be useful; for drivers, such knowledge could be critical.
Now, thanks to Ford’s new connected car technology, it is also a reality. Or you could, of course, download Waze to your cellphone.
Local Hazard Information (Ford’s capitals) claims to be a significant step on the journey towards a connected transport infrastructure by helping drivers to prepare for and so avoid road obstacles. A driver not expecting a traffic tailback, a crash, a spilled load – possibly unexpectedly, probably out of sight – is warned.
This program could also apply to a freak hailstorm, unexpected sudden flooding, a landslide.
The information comes from cars ahead – around a corner, over a hill, in a side street – generated perhaps by a crash sack inflating, hazard lights switched on, screen wipers activated.
Until now traffic incident alerts have relied on human input. LHI does the job itself.
A hazard is only shown on the information display if it is likely to affect the driver’s journey: LHI hs been designed to be more use to drivers than hazard information from, say, traffic news; the signal will only go to nearby vehicles.
One might have thought the drivers could have stopped on the shoulder and moved the boxes? Whatever…
The system is already being fitted to the Ford Puma (not available in SA) and will be free for a year. Other new Ford vehicles – almost all – will be so equipped by the end of 2020.
Crucially, not only Ford can send alerts – all so fitted in the area will get the information.
‘SIGNIFICANT STEP FORWARD’
Joerg Beyer, executive director of engineering with Ford Europe, told The Corner in the media info: “LHI is different because the vehicles are connected through the Internet of Things – no reliance on third-party apps.
”This is a significant step forward. Warnings will be specific, relevant and tailored to a specific journey.”
SO, HOW DOES IT WORK…?
Sensors monitor a vehicle’s behavior: emergency braking, fog lights, traction control,to detect bad weather or poor road conditions. Data from these activities is then computed to determine the hazard location and whether a traffic incident has occurred.
The vehicle automatically provides updates through a secure connection to “the cloud” using the Ford Pass Connect modem in the vehicle. Ford’s technology partner HERE Technologies operates the central cloud-based platform that collates information from multiple vehicle brands, governed by a business-to-business agreement.
The more cars connected the greater the efficiency of the system. When many vehicles generate the same warning, others in the vicinity receive incident information from the cloud via the cellular network, enabling drivers to reduce speed or take other appropriate action.
Additional information is sourced from public authority incident databases and traffic reports to provide drivers with further advance warnings including approaching vehicles driving on the wrong side of the carriageway, animals or people on the road ahead, and road works.