Ford Working With Cars that Talk to Each Other

In an effort to reduce intersection crashes, Ford Motor Company researchers are working on an advanced crash avoidance system that uses wireless and GPS technologies to talk to nearby vehicles.

Now under development, Ford?s Automatic Braking Intersection Collision Avoidance System (ABICAS) uses radio-based wireless sensors, GPS and navigation information to detect the relative location of other radio-equipped test vehicles. The system warns drivers of imminent side-impact collisions and automatically activate the brakes if necessary to avoid or minimize the damage caused by such collisions.

ABICAS is enabled by wireless vehicle-to-vehicle communications, and works in conjunction with radar- and camera-based driver assist features, such as adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake support, which are already available on many Ford vehicles.

While radar and camera sensors can detect other vehicles ahead and behind a vehicle, radio-based wireless sensors give vehicles a 360-degree ?view.? Information from these various sensors is combined with engineering algorithms to ensure the validity of an imminent collision before automatically activating the vehicle?s brakes ? all of which happens in a split second.

When a vehicle is equipped with a dedicated short-range wireless radio, it can communicate with similarly equipped vehicles, and use the shared information in concert with its safety systems.

?By leveraging wireless technology, Ford is developing tomorrow?s crash avoidance systems today,? said Jim Vondale, director, Ford Automotive Safety Office. ?Thanks to research projects like ABICAS, tomorrow?s vehicles will one day be able to talk to each other to avoid accidents.?

The Smart Intersection project communicates with test vehicles to warn drivers of potential collisions, such as when a vehicle is about to run through a red light. The intersection is outfitted with technology that monitors traffic signal status, GPS data and digital maps to assess potential hazards, and then transmits warning information to other specially equipped vehicles.

Once the information is received by the vehicle, its collision avoidance system can be designed to determine whether the car can safely cross the intersection or if it needs to stop before entering the intersection. If the system determines the need to stop and senses that the driver is not decelerating quickly enough, it issues visual and audible warnings to the driver.

?For vehicle-to-vehicle communications to be effective, common standards will need to be established for all automakers to follow,? said Mike Shulman, technical leader, Ford Active Safety Research and Advanced Engineering. ?Our research is helping to identify the types of warnings that drivers find to be effective and easier to understand.?