Ford has been field-testing a high-tech early warning ‘brake light’ system that can warn drivers following behind, even if they can’t actually see the car right ahead (as when around a bend). The technology is one of 20 potential future systems the company has helped evaluate as part of Safe Intelligent Mobility – Testfield Germany (simTD), a four-year joint industry German research project.
In emergency braking situations, the experimental Electronic Brake Light transmits a wireless signal to illuminate a dashboard light in cars following behind. The study has found that the system enables drivers to brake earlier and thus, mitigate or avoid a collision.
Ford used 20 specially-equipped S-MAX models to help test the potential of car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communication in the simTD field tests, which involved 500 test drivers in 120 vehicles logging more than 41,000 hours and around 1.6 million kilometres on public roads and an enclosed test track in Germany.
The Blue Oval offerings also trialled an Obstacle Warning system, which alerts to the presence, position and type of potentially hazardous objects in the road, as well as a system called Traffic Sign Assistant, which keeps the vehicle in contact with traffic management centres for up-to-date information.