Ford demonstrates how Wi-Fi could save your life

Ford, today, showed off a new set of technologies that will enable cars to talk to each other, helping to reduce crashes and maybe help with other things, like help with fuel economy. Here Michael Shulman, technical leader in Ford’s Active Safety Research and Innovation gives us a demo of the tech in a different kind of press conference than I usually attend. GigaOm’s Katie Fehrenbacher gives you the details behind the technology.

The tech uses standard Wi-Fi and GPS technology, so should be able to be built into cars for far less than the radar systems I’ve previously talked about.

Unfortunately we won’t be able to purchase this technology for several years, probably until around 2015 model years, because it needs to be further tested, standardized, and then offered in cars. Really cool stuff, though, and you can see just how it could be used to save your life by helping you avoid accidents. In the demo we run through scenarios like coming up on a stopped car, trying to pass into a dangerous lane, and seeing cars around a truck or other obstruction.

Comments

  1. You mean, The Knight Industries Two Thousand wasn’t reaL? I had no idea….

    What would you call the auto-internet, Scobe. The autonet? And how long before it gets hacked? I’ve seen those tv shows, too. We need a law here…. Any technology that can be thought of, will eventually be used for evil purposes, whether real or imaginary. 

  2. While this is extremely cool, if Ford wants to maintain current and acquire new customers, they should devote less resources to this future tech and more towards their current tech (MyFord Touch) that doesn’t work as well as advertised.

    1. Aren’t you assuming it’s either/or? Companies can work on more than one issue at once, and some will require more resources than others. Throwing more money and people at a given problem doesn’t always produce a faster/better solution.

  3. I’ve been looking at smart car technology pretty deeply recently, and this path of investigation seems rather silly to me. Unless all cars are mandated to be retrofitted (which he mentions), the replacement rate on automobiles means that for the first few decades the chances that your car will see another car so equipped are rather remote.

    And then we’ll just have to equip the deer and pedestrians (and mattresses and ladders) with WiFi and GPS. And make sure that these technologies (whose function we aren’t aware of normally) are still working.

    My money is on such technologies as permissive rather than restrictive, and only once we get other sensing technologies to the point where we feel comfortable handing the vehicle control over to the automated systems. Then we can build cooperative inter-vehicle systems.

    On the other hand, the federal government is spending enough money on this boondoggle that it may happen anyway.

    1. The fact that these car companies are trying to resolve a lot of the causes of vehicle crashes says a lot. I think it’s unrealistic to call it ‘silly’ because they’re not trying to solve EVERY possible cause of a car-object impact. They have to start somewhere. 

      Personally I’d rather be warned of an upcoming issue rather than have my vehicle take control. Being comfortable with control from automated systems before realizing cooperative V2V systems is putting the cart before the horse.

      Increasing vehicle safety will be a boondoggle only until it helps you or a loved one avoid a crash.