Ford thinks traffic signs and stop lights could be a thing of the past.
The brand’s British arm has been testing technology that could choreograph traffic so that vehicles would never need to come to a stop, saving time, fuel and plenty of frustration.
Incredibly, Ford cites UK research that shows drivers waste on average two days per year sitting still at traffic lights. But using its new Intersection Priority Management system motorists would theoretically never need to stop, and would slow at a distance in preparation to cross traffic paths like a successful game of Frogger.
The idea was developed with British Government funding as part of a two-year program called UK Autodrive which also spawned Intersection Collision Warning, Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory, Collaborative Parking and Emergency Vehicle Warning. Inspiration came from how pedestrians judge speed to cross paths harmoniously.
Ford believes IPM isn’t just for future autonomous cars, as it has tested the tech on cars with a human driver and can see it being used in emergency vehicles to reduce response times. It should also reduce road incidents, with around 60 per cent of all accidents in the UK occurring at intersections.
Underpinning the system is AI and vehicle-to-vehicle communication that assumes all traffic is running on the same system – a classic car might not have so much success. It is currently being tested on public roads in Milton Keynes, UK, and drivers are told by the system to either slow down or speed up when approaching an intersection.
“With the connected car technology we have been demonstrating this week, we envisage a world where vehicles are more aware of each other and their environment, enabling intelligent cooperation and collaboration on the roads – and around junctions,” said Ford research and advanced engineering supervisor Christian Ress.
Watch the technology in action below:
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