Ford and Vodafone prototype warns drivers of accidents and emergency vehicles

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Ford and Vodafone are working on a connected vehicle technology that could alert drivers to an accident ahead just moments after it has happened. What’s more, the system could also provide early warning that emergency vehicles are approaching – and which side of the road they should move towards to avoid being an obstruction.

The consequences of blocking the progress of emergency vehicles – and delaying their arrival at the scene of an accident – could prove fatal. In fact, experts believe that survival rates for road accident victims can be improved by as much as 40 per cent if they receive treatment just four minutes more quickly.

This system is designed to create an “emergency corridor” along which fire engines, ambulances and police vehicles can reach their destinations more quickly; and is being trialled as part of KoMoD (Kooperative Mobilität im digitalen Testfeld Düsseldorf) – a €15 million project for the practical testing of new connected car technologies and automated driving.

Says Gunnar Herrmann, CEO, Ford of Germany:

“Connected and automated driving are key technologies of the future. Ford has a long history of developing and testing vehicle to traffic infrastructure and vehicle to vehicle communications that can contribute to greater road safety and efficiency across the world.

“Together with Vodafone and in cooperation with the other companies involved, we will gain decisive insights on the Düsseldorf testing grounds to further advance the networking of vehicles,” 

Already, in the event of an accident, “eCall” functionality, which is available on the all-new Focus, can automatically call emergency services, and enables occupants to do so manually by pushing an SOS button inside the car.

Ford and Vodafone are testing connected vehicle tech that can automatically warn other drivers of accidents ahead and shows how to get out of the way of emergency vehicles

Getting help to road accident victims more quickly significantly improves survival rates – and drivers who are confused in these situations cause critical delays

Prototype shows drivers how to create an “emergency corridor” – a legal requirement in some countries – so fire engines, ambulances and police vehicles can travel unhindered

Anticipating a future where all vehicles communicate with each other via mobile phone networks and embedded modems, Ford and Vodafone are now exploring how “eCall Plus” might also inform other drivers that there is an accident ahead, across a range of up to 500 metres. Attending emergency vehicles would also issue the warning, using in-car displays to show the correct “emergency corridor” formation.

The new technology complements Emergency Vehicle Warning technology that Ford is also testing  at KoMoD. This sends a signal from the ambulance, fire engine or police car directly to nearby drivers, so that they will know the exact location of the vehicle and how far away it is. This can be especially useful in urban areas, for example at a crossroads where it might be difficult for drivers to immediately know where the siren is coming from.

 

Chris Price