Source: Ford announcement

DEARBORN, MICH. – Ford Motor Company is researching a new smartphone-based communications technology that could potentially help warn drivers of pedestrians, bicyclists and more – even those approaching a vehicle’s path but blocked from a driver’s view.

The concept smartphone app running on a pedestrian’s phone uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) messaging to communicate their location to a connected Ford vehicle. If the vehicle calculates a potential crash risk, Ford SYNC® can alert drivers by the in-vehicle screen showing graphics of pedestrians, bicyclists or more with audio alerts sounding.

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Ford, Commsignia, PSS, Ohio State University, T-Mobile and Tome Software are demonstrating the technology at the Intelligent Transportation Society of America’s World Congress in Los Angeles this week.

“Newer Ford vehicles already with Ford Co-Pilot360 Technology can detect and help warn drivers of pedestrians, bicyclists, scooter riders and others – and even apply brakes if drivers do not respond in time,” said Jim Buczkowski, Executive Director, Research and Advanced Engineering. “We are now exploring ways to expand vehicle sensing capability, for areas drivers cannot see, to help people drive even more confidently on roads increasingly shared by others using their two feet or two wheels.”

Ford is a founding member of the Vulnerable Road User Safety Consortium™ (VRUSC), a consortia program of SAE Industries Technology Consortia Programs (SAE ITC®), an affiliate of SAE Group. The VRUSC was formed by vehicle, bicycle, ridesharing and technology companies to find technological solutions to rising crashes with pedestrians, bicyclists and others. Tome Software founded the Bike-to-Vehicle Advisory Board that grew into the new consortium.

National Highway Transportation Safety Administration data estimates traffic fatalities increased 13 percent to 7,342 in 2021 versus the prior year, while bicyclist traffic fatalities increased 5 percent — to 1,000 — during the same window.

“We see other possible applications for this technology, including detecting road construction zones and construction workers,” said Buczkowski. “Ford innovates for the masses, so it’s very promising to start with Bluetooth Low Energy technology that’s already become part of our everyday lives because it’s affordable and effective.”

To view the entire announcement, click HERE.