You'd be able to tell if you're approaching a slippery road or accident scene.
A few years back, Ford said that it was trialing connected car technology that would do away with traffic lights entirely. While we haven't arrived at that point just yet, the automaker's latest advancement could significantly contribute to safer roads using connected car data.
Quite simply, new Fords will be able to interpret certain data - such as, for instance, airbag activation - as an emergency. This data will then be transmitted to a secure Ford server and shared with other vehicles in close proximity to warn them of an impending hazard. Even better, the sharing of this vital information won't be limited to Ford drivers.
The European Commission-backed Data for Road Safety partnership led the initiative. Over the course of 16 months, millions of Safety-Related Traffic Information (SRTI) messages were shared between vehicles to gauge the feasibility of the technology.
Other SRTI partners include Volvo, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. Notably, the data shared from one vehicle to the next is anonymous. The messages exchanged include alerts of slippery roads, cars that were broken down on the side of the road, poor visibility, and vehicle-specific signals such as the activation of emergency braking. Using cellular communications, participating connected vehicles will receive a warning signal on their dashboards. Already, vehicles like the new Ford Kuga and Ford Puma sold in Europe can alert drivers of impending hazards.
"Connected vehicles help drivers to anticipate hazards that may be lurking just around the next bend," said Peter Geffers, Manager of Connected Vehicles for Ford of Europe. "Road-safety data sharing ecosystems are more effective the more vehicles and telematics sources they include."
There's no word yet on exactly when the tech will expand to popular Fords in the US like the F-150.
Other manufacturers are working on similar connected car technologies and gradually uncovering more and more uses for them. For instance, Audi's cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) tech can warn drivers when they enter an active school safety zone. Drivers who are potentially distracted and driving at typical speeds will be warned when they approach a school bus that is dropping off or picking up children.
Elsewhere, Buick has also incorporated V2X tech in its new GL8 Avenir minivan in China; alerts include intersection collision warning and emergency braking warning. The possibilities of connected car tech are endless, and we hope other automakers get on board soon.