Ford Motor and Vodafone are testing connected vehicle technology that could alert drivers to an accident on the road ahead, moments after it has happened. Furthermore, the system can provide early warning that emergency vehicles are approaching – and which side of the road they should move towards to avoid being an obstruction.
The system is designed to create an 'emergency corridor' along which fire engines, ambulances and police vehicles can reach their destinations more quickly. It is being trialled as part of KoMoD (Kooperative Mobilität im digitalen Testfeld Düsseldorf) – a €15 million (Rs 128 crore) project for the practical testing of new connected car technologies and automated driving. On two-lane roads “emergency corridors” are created in between the two lanes by drivers pulling over to either side. If there are more than two lanes, then it depends whether the rule of the road is to drive on the left or the right. For those countries where motorists drive on the right, the corridor is created between the lane on the far left and the lane directly alongside.
The new technology complements 'Emergency Vehicle Warning' technology that is also being tested by Ford 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 crossroads where it might be difficult for drivers to immediately know where the siren is coming from.
Gunnar Herrmann, CEO, Ford of Germany said, “Together with Vodafone and in cooperation with the other companies involved, we will gain decisive insights on the Dusseldorf testing grounds to further advance the networking of vehicles.”
Hannes Ametsreiter, CEO, Vodafone Germany said, “When cars communicate with each other, our rescue teams get a clear path ahead and provide the right help at the right time, in situations when every second matters.”
Ford will also test further technologies at KoMoD that demonstrate the potential of connected vehicles. For instance, the 'Traffic Light Assistance' system that uses information on traffic light timings and a 'Tunnel Information' system uses messages from roadside units to display to the driver warning messages about speed limits, slowly moving vehicles or lane closures.