Ford's unveils "talking" cars
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Ford is showing off some high-tech features that warn drivers when there is danger ahead. The auto giant, with two large factories in Louisville, says while other car companies are developing similar technologies, it is the first company to have prototype vehicles.
Those vehicles were on display Monday in Louisville.
Gridlock is something Kentuckiana motorists are familiar with especially with the recent closing of the Sherman Minton Bridge for repairs. Ford says as traffic congestion worsens around the nation, it continues to work on new technology that will make it easier for motorists to avoid accidents.
"What we are demonstrating today is what we call connected vehicle technology," says Ford research expert Mary Wroten, "where cars wirelessly talk to each other and provide warnings to drivers to avoid any threat that is ahead."
Wroten says the technology uses advanced Wi-Fi and GPS signals. Monday morning Ford turned the parking lot at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium into a test track showing reporters how the technology is applied.
For example, if you are in traffic and a car two vehicles ahead of you brakes, but the car immediately in front of you does not, this technology will warn you with a loud beep and flashing red lights on the windshield to hit the brakes. "The warning just gives a driver an indication there is a threat," says Wroten, "the driver still has to apply the brakes."
By reducing crashes, these so called intelligent cars could ease traffic delays saving drivers both time and fuel.
Ford is partnering with other auto makers and the federal government to come up with a workable system. "We are working on a joint project with other manufacturers, along with the U.S. Department of Transportation," says Wroten, "the DOT is moving toward a decision by 2013 if they are going to regulate this technology."
Ford says its too early to say how much such a system will add to the sticker price since it will be a number of years before it becomes a reality. "If the government makes a decision to go the regulation route, you could see this technology on vehicles by 2019 or 2020, " adds Wroten.
Ford says with such technology, a majority of minor accidents could be prevented. But for such a system to be one-hundred percent effective, all cars and trucks would have to have it installed.