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The end of the red light?

The company is demonstrating Intersection Priority Management on the streets of the UK city of Milton Keynes this week

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The technology could advise drivers to slow down or accelerate to avoid a collision
The technology could advise drivers to slow down or accelerate to avoid a collision

Ford is demonstrating vehicle-to-vehicle-enabled (V2V-enabled) technology on the streets of Milton Keynes in the UK that could advise drivers to slow down or accelerate to avoid a collision with vehicles approaching from other directions.

 

The Intersection Priority Management (IPM) technology, which is being tested as part of the government-funded UK Autodrive programme, aims to keep drivers driving and bring an end to unnecessary stops at junctions, easing traffic flow and increasing safety and efficiency.

 

IPM uses V2V communications to coordinate with other vehicles in the vicinity and suggests optimum speeds that will allow cars to safely pass by each other at intersections without coming to a halt.

 

Cause of 60 per cent of accidents

 

Ford says that every year, the average driver spends two days waiting at traffic lights, which are also the cause of 60 per cent of road traffic accidents. As well as saving time, avoiding stopping at junctions could also save fuel, as drivers avoid braking and accelerating away from the lights.

 

“We know that intersections and traffic lights can be a real bugbear for many drivers,” said Christian Ress, supervisor, Driver Assist Technologies, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. “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.”

 

For the trial, test cars have been equipped with V2V communication systems that broadcast the vehicles’ location, direction of travel and speed. The onboard IPM systems are able to identify an upcoming junction and the trajectory of other vehicles approaching it. It will then suggest an optimum speed for each vehicle as they approach the junction that will allow them pass through safely.

”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”

The vehicles in the trial have people behind the wheel, but it is envisaged that autonomous vehicles could also benefit from the technology. Automating how vehicles negotiate junctions with each other in this way that may mean that, one day, vehicles could pass through safely and efficiently without the need for traffic lights or road signs.

 

IPM builds upon other connected-car technologies developed by Ford and its project partners as part of UK Autodrive, a £20 million programme taking self-driving and connected car technologies from the test track to the streets.

 

Among the technologies showcased during the two-year programme – which comes to an end this week – are Intersection Collision Warning, which alerts drivers of potential accidents when approaching an intersection, and Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory (GLOSA), which helps cars to synchronise with nearby traffic lights to help them avoid getting stuck on red.

 

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Street crossing of the future

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