Perhaps for the foreseeable future, pedestrians and cyclists on the roads will be safer than they are now.
Ford is working with Commsignia, PSS, Ohio State University, T-Mobile, and Tome Software to explore an affordable and scalable communications technology that could potentially help drivers warn drivers of pedestrians, cyclists, and other people—even those hidden from direct view. And it all relies simply on smartphones and the usual Bluetooth technology.
Ford’s idea is very simple. All smartphones are equipped with a Bluetooth module (Ford says Bluetooth LE is used), which can be used to make cars aware of the presence of pedestrians or cyclists nearby.
New Ford vehicles already equipped with Ford Co-Pilot360 technology can detect and alert drivers to pedestrians, cyclists, scooter riders and others, and even apply the brakes if drivers don’t react in time. We are currently exploring ways to expand vehicle detection capabilities in areas that drivers cannot see to help people drive even more confidently on roads that are increasingly being used by others.
The advantage of the new approach is that, firstly, almost all people have a smartphone, and secondly, almost all modern cars have Bluetooth. That is, no new hardware solutions are required. In addition, Ford is working with T-Mobile on a 5G version of the same technology.