Ford is building a prototype car that “talks” to other cars through WiFi to warn if the cars ahead slow down too quickly, and of other hazards.
Ford announced Wednesday, it is aggressively pursuing this technology which could be in cars in 5 to 10 years. The Ford prototype will begin touring the country this spring.
No it won’t let you send other drivers messages like “Slow down you idiot.” But cars will send each other automated signals using an advanced form of WiFi (See video below). If a vehicle is running a red light or if it enters your blind spot, you get a warning.
Ford said it is already partnering with other car makers and the federal government to create a common language for inter-vehicle communications.
The special WiFi system for “talking cars” could be included in smartphones or GPS products that could connect to the car radio as in the Sync.
“Ford has pioneered connectivity in modern vehicles with SYNC. We believe advanced Wi-Fi for intelligent vehicles could be added to smartphones or GPS systems and simply connect to SYNC like today’s phones,” said Mike Shulman, Ford technical leader.
Car-to-car communication could help in over 4 million crashes annually, or 81 percent of light vehicle crashes according to research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Traffic would also improve from the system, as fewer accidents would mean less tie ups.
“The day is not far off when our vehicles will operate like mobile devices with four wheels, constantly exchanging information and communicating with our environment to do things like shorten commute times, improve fuel economy and generally help us more easily navigate life on the road,” said chief technology officer Paul Mascarenas.
Ford’s system relies on WiFi using a form of dedicated short-range communications on a secured channel allocated by the Federal Communications Commission, said Ford. The technology is called Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC).
Ford is doubling its investment in the technology and is planning a new task force of 20 scientists and engineers to explore more possibilities for the technology.