Ford has teamed up with Vodafone to test new connected vehicle technology that could alert drivers to an accident ahead moments after it has happened.
The system can also provide early warning that emergency vehicles are approaching – and even advise drivers which side of the road they should move towards to avoid being an obstruction.
This would help create an ’emergency corridor’ between two lanes, allowing fire engines, ambulances and police vehicles to reach their destinations more quickly.
The technology, known as eCall Plus, builds on the existing eCall functionality which automatically contacts the emergency services in the event of a serious road accident and transmits the vehicle’s location.
In the future, when connected and autonomous vehicle technology becomes more widespread, it’s possible that all vehicles will be able to communicate with each other via mobile phone networks and embedded modems.
“The digital revolution is bringing new forms of mobility which may help save lives on our roads,” commented Hannes Ametsreiter, CEO of Vodafone Germany. “When cars communicate with each other, our rescue teams get a clear path forwards, so they can provide the right help at the right time, in situations when every second counts.”
Ford and Vodafone are trialling the system as part of KoMoD (Kooperative Mobilität im digitalen Testfeld Düsseldorf), a €15m project for the practical testing of new connected car technologies and automated driving.
The car maker is also testing a complementary system, Emergency Vehicle Warning, which sends a signal from the ambulance, fire engine or police car directly to nearby drivers, telling them the exact location of the vehicle and how far away it is. This could be especially useful in urban areas, for example at a crossroads where it might be difficult for drivers to immediately know where the siren is coming from, Ford said.
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