- Ford is developing technology that could take some of the pain out of being in a traffic jam by reducing driver stress, improving traffic flow, and potentially help to prevent accidents
- In congestion, the semi-autonomous technology Traffic Jam Assist increases comfort by assisting the driver with steering, braking and acceleration. Cars ahead and lane markings are monitored by camera and radar
- Ford also is developing technologies that assist drivers to stay in the middle of their lane, to continue in cruise control even after coming to a stop, and to park by remote control
AACHEN, Germany, Dec. 2, 2015 – Being stuck in a traffic jam can be tiring, stressful and tedious. But that is exactly what drivers in Europe do for 30 hours every year on average.* Ford is currently developing a technology that could make driving in congestion more relaxing.
Ford Traffic Jam Assist assists the driver in keeping the vehicle centred in the lane and brakes and accelerates to keep pace with the vehicle in front of it.** The system is among a range of semi‑autonomous driver assistance technologies that Ford is developing.
Traffic Jam Assist is easily activated by pushing a button any time the driver encounters a traffic jam. The system identifies the position of vehicles in front using a grille-mounted radar; and the location of lane markings using a front-facing camera behind the windscreen.
The driver can take over at any time by using the pedals, the steering wheel, or turn signal. The system regularly monitors the driver’s interaction with the steering wheel. If the system detects a lack of steering interaction, it will issue acoustic and visual warnings. Depending upon the vehicle speed and location, the frequency of warnings will vary. However, the driver is still required to monitor the driving environment and be prepared to take control of the vehicle at any time.
“For many drivers, fighting heavy traffic on the way to work leaves them stressed, angry and exhausted, even before the work day begins. Traffic Jam Assist helps the driver maintain the distance to the vehicle ahead and helps to keep the vehicle centred in the lane. The system aims to reduce driver stress in dense traffic scenarios,” said Reid Steiger, technical expert, Automated Driving, Ford of Europe.
This year Ford announced Ford Smart Mobility, the company’s plan to deliver the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and big data, while making millions of people’s lives better.
A recent Ford-commissioned survey of 5,500 commuters in major European cities found that commuting by car to work can be more stressful than work itself. *** Further semi‑autonomous technology systems that Ford is developing include technologies that help drivers stay centred in their lane, a cruise control system that enables drivers to easily resume their desired speed even after the vehicle has come to a complete stop, and a remote control parking system.
Traffic Jam Assist is made possible by the combination of two technologies that also are in development, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go and Lane Centering Aid.
At the push of a button, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go is designed to utilise radar and camera information to detect the location and distance of vehicles ahead. It reduces the speed for slower vehicles and then resumes the desired speed when traffic clears. The operating range now enables drivers to easily resume their speed after a complete halt. **
Lane Centering Aid assists the driver to keep the vehicle centered in the drive lane. The technology builds on Ford’s existing Lane Keeping Aid technology.
“Whether you live in an area that constantly has traffic jams or just commute occasionally to areas where dense traffic jams are probable, Traffic Jam Assist aims to make those situations less stressful for the driver. This enables drivers to arrive at their destinations feeling more refreshed,” Steiger said.
Remote Park Assist builds on Active Park Assist, available on current Ford vehicles, and Fully Assisted Parking Aid, the next-generation parking technology which controls steering, gear selection and forward and reverse motion to facilitate push-button parking.
Vehicle sizes have increased by up to 25 per cent over the last 40 years, while in many cases garages and parking spaces have remained constant.****
Remote Park Assist will enable drivers to more easily park perpendicularly in narrow garages and crowded underground parking garages. Such systems will help to optimise parking space in ever-more crowded urban areas. For example, the technology could help parents who sometimes struggle to help young ones out of the car after parking in a tight parking space adjacent to other vehicles. Using a special key fob, the driver will be able to remotely start the engine and shift gears, from a better vantage point, standing near the vehicle. **
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** Available for vehicles with PowerShift automatic transmission
*** Survey conducted for Ford Motor Company by Opinion Matters during April 2015 https://media.ford.com/content/fordmedia/feu/en/news/2015/04/27/for-europeans--the-journey-to-work-causes-more-stress-than-their.html