Η Ford ανακοίνωσε και αυτή με τη σειρά της ένα ημι-αυτόματο σύστημα οδήγησης. Το σύστημα ονομάζεται Traffic Jam Assist και χρησιμοποιεί ραντάρ και κάμερες ώστε να κράτα την απαραίτητη απόσταση από το προπορευόμενο όχημα, ενώ μπορεί να χειριστεί και το τιμόνι του αυτοκινήτου. Το σύστημα θα μπορούσε να βοηθήσει στη μείωση του μποτιλιαρίσματος κρατώντας τα αυτοκίνητα μια σταθερή πορεία. Το σύστημα αναμένεται να βγει στην αγορά αρκετά σύντομα.

Παράλληλα η Ford ανακοίνωσε ένα νέο σύστημα παρκαρίσματος το οποίο αποτελεί την εξέλιξη του τωρινού παράλληλου συστήματος παρκαρίσματος. Τέλος η εταιρία ετοιμάζει και ένα σύστημα το οποίο μέσω αισθητήρων παρακολουθεί τα επίπεδα άγχους του οδηγού. Αν το αυτοκίνητο “καταλάβει” ότι ο οδηγός είναι πολύ απασχολημένος, τότε απορρίπτει τις εισερχόμενες κλήσεις του κινητού του τηλεφώνου, ώστε να μην του αποσπάσει την προσοχή.

[Πηγή: Ford]

Δελτίο Τύπου

Ford Developing New Technologies to Help Ease Traffic, Parking Stress and Address Future Mobility Challenges

  • Ford is developing Traffic Jam Assist, an intelligent driving feature that employs technology from the already-available active park assist, adaptive cruise control, Lane-Keeping Aid and the PowerShift transmission to enable a vehicle to automatically keep pace with other vehicles
  • Ford vehicles will evolve the current active park assist system – a Ford technology that enables parallel parking without touching the steering wheel – to offer hands-free perpendicular parking as well
  • Early prototypes of these technologies are designed to help reduce driver stress and traffic gridlock

 DEARBORN, Mich., June 26, 2012 – Ford Motor Company is researching and developing intelligent, next-generation driving technologies designed to help address traffic jams and other future mobility challenges that come with rapid urbanization and population growth around the world.

Ford’s early prototypes of two such technologies – Traffic Jam Assist and an advanced version of active park assist, evolved to offer hands-free perpendicular parking – are designed to interact with a vehicle’s surroundings, reduce driver stress and help reduce traffic gridlock.

“Developing these technologies is part of the first step in a journey toward a more connected future,” said Paul Mascarenas, Ford chief technical officer and vice president, Research and Innovation. “It’s an undertaking we believe will save time, conserve resources, lower emissions, improve safety and help reduce driver stress.”

Traffic Jam Assist Traffic Jam Assist is an intelligent driving technology that Ford is developing for the mid-term. It uses radar and camera technology to help a vehicle keep pace with other vehicles in traffic and provide automated steering control to stay in the current lane, reducing driver stress and potentially improving vehicle flow.

“Drivers spend more than 30 percent of their time in heavy traffic,” said Joseph Urhahne, engineer with Ford Research and Innovation. “Traffic Jam Assist could help make traveling through congestion a more relaxing experience and, by keeping pace with the flow of traffic, potentially help relieve road congestion.”

Individual simulation studies have found that where 25 percent of vehicles on a stretch of road are equipped to automatically follow the traffic ahead, journey times can be reduced by 37.5 percent and delays reduced by 20 percent – saving millions of gallons of fuel each year.

Traffic Jam Assist has the potential to follow the traffic ahead while maintaining lane position in environments where there are no pedestrians, cyclists or animals, and where lanes are clearly marked.

Many of the sensing technologies required to deliver Traffic Jam Assist already are available on current Ford models including Focus, Escape and Fusion.

The developing technology would be able to respond to changing traffic situations ahead and communicate any developments to the driver. Traffic Jam Assist would also incorporate features to help ensure the driver remains alert and in contact with the vehicle controls, even when the system is active. It could also be overridden at any time.

Perpendicular parking In the near term, Ford plans to further develop its active park assist technology, a popular feature that allows drivers to parallel park without touching the wheel. Ford is adding perpendicular parking to the parallel parking maneuvers already possible.

The enhanced system would harness the technologies introduced with active park assist. It uses ultrasonic sensors to identify suitable parking spaces, for width rather than length, and then steers the vehicle into them using electric power-assisted steering (EPAS).

Active park assist is activated by pressing a center console button. When a suitable space is detected, the system will advise the driver to stop with an audible and visual warning. The driver will then be told to put the vehicle into reverse gear and operate brakes and clutch, if needed, while the car controls the steering wheel.

Perpendicular parking functionality would use the vehicle’s rear parking distance control sensors to monitor for obstructions not seen by the driver when backing into the space.

Where there is insufficient space to complete the maneuver in one attempt, the system might ask the driver to shift the vehicle into forward and reverse as necessary. Once the vehicle is perfectly parked, the driver gets a finish signal.

Ford Research Developing Intelligent System to Help Drivers Manage Stressful Situations on the Road

  • Existing sensor signals for driver-assist systems can be combined in new ways to estimate workload on the driver based on traffic and road conditions
  • Ford researchers also are using biometric feedback through sensors in the steering wheel, seat and seat belt to provide a more complete model of driver stress levels
  • Driver workload estimation can be used to manage in-vehicle communications by helping minimize driver distractions during hectic conditions

DEARBORN, Mich., June 27, 2012 – With today’s ever-increasing concern about driver distraction, engineers in the Ford Research and Innovation labs are developing ways to help the driver stay focused in busy situations by intelligently managing incoming communications.

“Ford has been a leader in delivering solutions for in-car communications and simplifying the user interface, and now we’re researching ways to use the car’s own intelligence to further help drivers,” says Jeff Greenberg, senior technical leader of Ford Research and Innovation. “Vehicle control inputs, sensors, road conditions and biometric information such as a driver’s pulse and breathing can all be used to create a driver workload estimation that can then help manage certain functions in demanding situations.”

Data from the sensing systems of driver-assist technologies can be used to determine the amount of external demand and workload upon a driver at any given time including traffic and road conditions. In addition, Ford continues its health and wellness research with the development of a biometric seat, seat belt and steering wheel that can monitor the condition of the driver to help add an even more specific estimate of the driver’s state of being.

The driver workload estimator is an algorithm using real-time data from existing sensors such as radar and cameras combined with input from the driver’s use of the throttle, brakes and steering wheel. The result is an intelligent system enabling management of in-vehicle communications based on the assessed workload of the driving situation.

For example, the side-looking radar sensors used for the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®) and the forward-looking camera for the Lane-Keeping System are on watch even when there is no active warning provided to the driver. These signals could indicate there is a significant amount of traffic in the lane that you are merging into while entering a highway.

Combine that knowledge with the fact that the driver has increased throttle pedal pressure to speed up, and the workload estimate could be high enough to determine it isn’t a very good time for an incoming phone call to ring inside the cabin.

The car could intelligently apply the “Do Not Disturb” feature that is already available as part of MyFord® Touch, helping the driver stay focused on the road during the high-demand situation.

Monitoring driver biometrics “In addition to using existing vehicle data to estimate demand on the driver, we’re researching ways to get an even better understanding of the stress level of the driver,” says Gary Strumolo, manager of vehicle design and infotronics, Ford Research and Innovation. “Biometric or health information of the driver can help us better tailor the experience when behind the wheel.”

Turning new biometric sensors toward the driver will help to create a more complete picture of the driver workload. The research team has built a biometric seating buck to test a number of different sensors and gather data on how drivers respond to a variety of inputs for a driver behavior model.

The experimental system adds several sensors to the steering wheel rim and spokes to get more detailed driver information. Anyone who has used modern exercise equipment like treadmills and stair climbers will be familiar with the metal pads on the rim that can be used to measure the driver’s heart rate.

Infrared sensors on the steering wheel monitor the palms of a driver’s hands as well as his or her face looking for changes in temperature. A downward-looking infrared sensor under the steering column measures the cabin temperature to provide a baseline for comparing changes in the driver’s temperature. The final sensor is embedded in the seat belt to assess the driver’s breathing rate.

With a more complete picture of the driver’s health and wellness blended with knowledge of what is happening outside the vehicle, the car will have the intelligence to dynamically adjust the alerts provided to the driver and filter interruptions. With the driver occupied in heavy traffic, the vehicle control system could increase the warning times for forward collision alerts and automatically filter out phone calls and messages, allowing the driver more time to respond. On the other hand, an alert driver on an open highway could receive incoming calls.

“While these features are still in research, they show significant opportunity for us to leverage data already being captured by the vehicle and apply an intelligent decision-making system to simplify the driving experience,” adds Strumolo.