Jul 032013
 

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A brake light warning of slowing traffic ahead could speed up reactions for drivers several cars behind a braking vehicle.

When a driver hits the brakes, the cars following behind may not see the telltale red lights if driving around a bend or caught up in foggy weather conditions. The Ford Motor Company hopes to make the roads safer with a warning system that transmits a “brake light” alert to the dashboards of cars following behind.

The “Electronic Brake Light” proved it could allow drivers to brake earlier and avoid collisions—or at least reduce the severity of accidents—during a four-year research project concluded in Dec. 2012. Such technology represented just one of 20 possible car systems tested by Ford and presented as part of the Safe Intelligent Mobility—Testfield Germany (simTD) project, according to a press release on June 20.

A brake light warning of slowing traffic ahead could speed up reactions for drivers several cars behind a braking vehicle. The system could even help prevent deadly highway pileups involving many cars in bad weather, such as a95-car pileup near the Virginia and North Carolina state lines on Mar. 31, 2013.

Ford engineers developed the system at the Ford European Research Centre in Aachen, Germany. Road tests took place with 500 test drivers in 120 vehicles near Frankfurt, Germany. Testing included more than 41 000 hours and 1.6 million kilometers on both public roads and a separate test track.

The smart car technology shows the advantages of having networked cars “talking” to one another on the roads, even if self-driving autonomous carshave not yet become widely available. Smarter cars may even communicate with traffic control systems to reduce or eliminate problems such as traffic congestion.

Read more . . .

via IEEE Spectrum
 

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