Dearborn, Michigan – Ford Motor Company researchers have unveiled one of the first privately-funded “smart intersections” in North America, a key step toward leveraging GPS technology and wireless infrastructure-to-vehicle communications to reduce traffic collisions and ease congestion.
The smart intersection, near Ford’s Research & Innovation Center in Dearborn, Michigan, communicates with specially-equipped test vehicles to warn drivers of potentially dangerous traffic situations, such as when a vehicle is about to run a red light. The intersection is outfitted with technology that can monitor traffic signal status, GPS data and digital maps to assess potential hazards, and then transmit the information to vehicles. Once the in-vehicle computer receives the data, it can instantly warn drivers through visual and audio alerts.
The project will accelerate Ford’s research into proprietary “active safety” technologies and also continue development of a common architecture and standards for smart intersections through a joint public-private effort known as Crash Avoidance Metrics Partnership (CAMP). Other members include General Motors, Honda, Daimler, Toyota, and the U.S. federal government, along with local and county road commissions.
“This technology has the potential to augment vehicle navigation systems to enhance safety by helping people who are distracted, drowsy or cannot see the traffic light due to a visual obstruction,” said Joe Stinnett, lead technical engineer, Active Safety Research and Advanced Engineering. “Our research is helping to identify the kinds of warnings that drivers may find both more effective and easier to understand.”