The intelligent vehicles will essentially use advanced WiFi signals and GPS systems that will send out multiple messages per second to “warn” other drivers – or, the vehicles themselves – of a potential crash. The messages transmit data about the vehicle’s location, speed, brakes, steering and other key data that would help the vehicles avoid a collision.
In these intelligent vehicles, the first line of warning would alert the driver. But if the driver does not respond, the system would actually “take over” and apply brakes, or adjust the vehicle’s direction.
Primarily, the intelligent-vehicle technology will focus on avoiding collisions by preventing a vehicle from changing lanes, coming up too fast behind a stalled vehicle, or entering an intersection if the light has turned red – or if another driver has run a red light or stop sign.
When the carmakers first began working on the system, the Federal Communications Commission allocated “a specific advanced radio-frequency spectrum for the system to use” explains Mike Shulman, technical leader for Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. “That’s a big deal, because spectrum is very valuable.
“When we started, our thinking was, ‘Let’s take a look at this and understand how it would work,” says Shulman. “At first, we sent out small packets of data to see how it would be received at the other end, and were very encouraged by the results, so we began to build up more advanced applications.”
The way it works, says Shulman, is that one intelligent-vehicle system sends out info to other vehicles – and even to traffic-signal systems – that say “here’s where I am, here’s where I’m going, here’s how fast I’m going. And, at the same time, your vehicle is receiving similar messages from other vehicles all around you.”
Currently, many vehicles are equipped with crash-avoidance technologies that rely on radar systems that are either situated in the front or back of the vehicle.
But the intelligent-vehicle technology has an advantage over radar, says Shulman, in that “it provides 360-degree coverage – it delivers much more information than radar, which is better at measuring distance and velocity. Plus, the cost is relatively low, because it’s built off of existing WiFi and GPS technologies.”
The system will also detect conditions in problematic situations, like along a curvy road, when a driver cannot visibly detect an oncoming car, or communicate to other drivers that there is black ice on the road.
Do you believe this is going to truly be effective?