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Imagine Fewer Red Lights: Ford is Testing New Technology That Could Transform the Daily Commute

  • Ford is testing technology to help drivers avoid red lights which could reduce the time commuters spend on the road each day by up to 20 percent.
  • Ford is testing “vehicle to infrastructure” technology that could transform the daily commute for millions of commuters in Asian cities, reducing the time people spend on the road each day by up to 20 minutes.
  • The future technology – connecting cars with data from traffic infrastructure – could result in fewer traffic jams, reduced commuting times and stress and lower fuel consumption and emissions.

Shanghai, China, July 6, 2017 – Every day across Asia, urban commuters spend a big part of their drive waiting at traffic lights and wishing them green. Now Ford is testing new technology to grant their wishes.

It is not science fiction. Ford believes drivers of the future could use the new technology to reduce the wait at red lights and shorten their commute times. For drivers in Asia who can spend up to 20 minutes a day waiting at lights, the technology promises to transform the daily commute.

Ford mobility engineers are already testing new “vehicle to infrastructure” (V2i) technology that could link the vehicle to the road system. Work is underway at test sites, including the Shanghai Demo Zone, where connected test zones allow the sharing of data about traffic conditions from the infrastructure itself directly with test vehicles.

“Imagine your daily commute with less waiting time for red lights,” said Thomas Lukaszewicz, manager, Automated Driving Europe & China, Ford Motor Company. “It’s like getting your life back. Vehicle to infrastructure technology under development now holds great promise to make commuting smoother and less time consuming.”

Traffic Light Optimal Speed Advisory
If it gets the green light, Ford’s new technology would equip future vehicles with a Traffic Light Optimal Speed Advisory (TLOSA) system, as explained in this animation. This system would inform the driver of the best safe speed to maintain to reduce the wait time at red lights by monitoring data from the roadway infrastructure about traffic conditions ahead.

Ford’s cars testing the new technology have transmitters and receivers hidden in the trunk space. Additional instrumentation provides the test driver the Traffic Light Optimal Speed Advisory information, via audible warnings and visual displays.

The connected system relies on the deployment of roadside monitors and data transmitters – contained in traffic light structures and overhead gantries – to collect and share real-time traffic information. The Traffic Light Optimal Speed Advisory system uses that data to calculate the ideal speed for the journey to reduce wait time at red lights and their resulting backups.

The work is part of Ford’s commitment to helping make people’s lives better by tripling its investment in developing driver-assist technologies, such as those that can help reduce stress in challenging situations such as parallel parking, lane keeping and speed management.

“We believe our customers would love this future technology,” Lukaszewicz said. “Imagine what you could do with all that time you spend each week instead of waiting at lights.”

If adopted broadly, vehicle to infrastructure technology could lead to significant reductions in traffic congestion by smoothing out the flow of traffic.

“The benefits could be significant if carmakers and highway authorities pursue this approach,” Lukaszewicz said.

Seeing Red
Waiting at traffic lights is not just an imagined pain point for commuters.

A recent study in the United Kingdom showed that being stopped by a red light along the way takes about one-fifth of the typical commute.1

According to INRIX's 2016 Global Traffic Scorecard, Bangkok ranked the most congested of all cities rated in Asia. Bangkok drivers spent an average 64.1 hours stuck in congested traffic last year. 2

If red light waiting time could be reduced or eliminated, the typical urban commuter in Asia could save up to 75 hours a year.

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Editor’s Note

An animation about our Traffic Light Optimal Speed Advisory (TLOSA) system is available to embed in stories. The link to view it is: https://youtu.be/5_k9UVi1fa4

1 https://www.confused.com/on-the-road/driving-law/drivers-spend-two-days-a-year-at-traffic-lights

2 2016 (2015) INRIX Traffic Scorecard Rank: http://inrix.com/scorecard/

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company is a global automotive and mobility company based in Dearborn, Michigan. With about 203,000 employees and 67 plants worldwide, the company’s core business includes designing, manufacturing, marketing, financing and servicing a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs and electrified vehicles, as well as Lincoln luxury vehicles. At the same time, Ford aggressively is pursuing emerging opportunities through Ford Smart Mobility, the company’s plan to be a leader in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and data and analytics. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company.  For more information regarding Ford, its products worldwide or Ford Motor Credit Company, visit www.corporate.ford.com.

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