Ford Motor Co. is partnering with T-Mobile and others to research using smartphone-based communication technology to help warn drivers of pedestrians and bicyclists -- even those hidden from direct view.
The technologies are being demonstrated at the Intelligent Transportation Society of America’s World Congress in Los Angeles this week.
National Highway Transportation Safety Administration data estimates traffic fatalities increased 13% in 2021 versus the prior year, while bicyclist traffic fatalities increased 5%.
The concept is for a smartphone app for pedestrians and others that communicates potential risks to connected Ford vehicles with SYNC providing in-vehicle screen alerts, complementing other technologies such as Ford Co-Pilot360 advanced driver assistance systems.
If the vehicle calculates a potential crash risk, Ford SYNC can alert drivers by the in-vehicle screen showing graphics of pedestrians, bicyclists or more, with audio alerts sounding.
Newer Ford vehicles already with Ford Co-Pilot360 Technology can detect and help warn drivers of pedestrians, bicyclists, scooter riders and others -- and even apply brakes if drivers do not respond in time.
Ford and T-Mobile will also demonstrate the connected Ford application utilizing T-Mobile’s 5G Advanced Network Solution combined with hyperscale computing in Los Angeles for even more reliable communications.
Commsignia, PSS, The Ohio State University and Tome Software are also involved in the research.
“We see other possible applications for this technology, including detecting road construction zones and construction workers,” says Jim Buczkowski, executive director, research and advanced engineering at Ford, in a release.