Ford’s Connected Vehicle Platform Could Prevent Accidents

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When it comes to driving, safety is everything. Modern vehicles have multiple systems that work to keep us safe in the event of an accident. The airbag is probably the most well known, but what if you didn’t need airbags? What if, cars could avoid accidents altogether?

Many new cars are equipped with internal accident avoidance systems which work in the background such as forward collision warning, blind-spot detection, and lane keep assist. This kind of technology no doubt saves lives by preventing accidents at the last seconds before they occur. But what about technology that works to prevent accidents further in the future? That’s exactly what Ford aims to do with their latest in-car connected vehicle platform.

The platform is powered by C-V2X technology, which communicates to a cellular network for cloud-based services. C-V2X acts as a direct link to communicate with other vehicles, smart infrastructure, and even pedestrians, assuming they also have C-V2X enabled devices.  

Ford’s engineers are working on using this technology to link vehicles on the road in order to alert drivers of possible hazards. Suppose a C-V2X equipped electric scooter is crossing a street: its position could be monitored and passed onto the driver.

There are several units currently in the testing phase, including a roadside unit that already allows communications between vehicles and other road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and e-scooter riders. The unit utilizes a secure and unalterable blockchain-based system to help vehicles negotiate the right of way at intersections for efficient traffic flow. I’m sure we’ve all been at an intersection that ends up becoming a game of stop, go, stop, wave the other driver through, go… This technology could one day finally put a stop to that.  

The roadside unit Ford is developing serves as an “interpreter” in these situations. It can translate signals from different wireless technologies including Bluetooth, C-V2X, and dedicated short-range communications channels. The signals could come from a mobile or wearable device, as well as other sources within a vehicle.

In a hypothetical example, if you’re using Google Maps to walk somewhere and come up to a crosswalk, your mobile phone can tell nearby vehicles of your intent via the directions combined with your location. The vehicles can then send out a confirmation that it is safe to cross.

To achieve its full potential, C-V2X must be widely deployed to vehicles and infrastructure within the transportation ecosystem. Which is why Ford is inviting fellow automakers, government agencies, and other partners to work with them so we can see the wide adoption of C-V2X.

Living in a busy urban area myself, it can be difficult to navigate the streets. You must pay attention not only to the traffic on the road, but also pedestrians, scooter riders, and cyclists.  A C-V2X-equipped vehicle that can communicate with other road users to determine if they intend to cross into your path and create a potential risk alert would be invaluable.

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