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News Article

Ford to Use App to Prevent Road Accidents

By Sofía Garduño | Mon, 09/19/2022 - 12:57

Ford is working on a smartphone-based communication technology to warn drivers when a pedestrian or a bicyclist is approaching the vehicle’s path. With this technology, the automaker expects to offer an app that can communicate with Ford SYNC vehicles. Commsignia, PSS, Ohio State University, T-Mobile and Tome Software are also part of this project. 


“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,” said Jim Buczkowski, Executive Director, Research and Advanced Engineering, Ford. 


This technology will complement other technologies already offered by the automaker such as Ford Co-Pilot 360, which continuously monitors the road to warn drivers about objects, vehicles or pedestrians nearby. “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,” added Buczkowski.


The ongoing project aims to offer an app for pedestrians that will communicate their position to a connected Ford vehicle. The app will rely on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) as it already is available in smartphones and is compatible with SYNC connected vehicle technology. “Ford’s concept uses BLE as a beacon capable of sensing multiple other similarly equipped devices in range without pairing,” says Ford.


Aside from BLE technology, Ford also aims to demonstrate the app with T-Mobile’s 5G Advanced Network Solution to replace BLE communication. With T-Mobile’s technology, more reliable communications can be created and detection alerts can be quickly delivered to vehicles. Compared to 4G, 5G provides 10 times less latency and offers more capacity for downloads and uploads, according to Ricardo Anaya, Product Manager, Qualcomm. 


Globally, around 1.3 million people die annually in road crashes. It is estimated that the cost of fatalities and injuries caused by crashes around the world can cost about US$1.8 trillion from 2015 to 2030. Mexico is the seventh country in deaths caused by automotive accidents in the world and the third in Latin America. The country sees about 22 deaths per day among those aged between 15 and 29 years old.  


To face this scenario, multiple OEMs are also investing in technology to ensure safety both to drivers and those surrounding them. For example, Freightliner announced that its DriverCOACH tool will be available in Mexico in 2023 models. “This tool has a camera that records the driver and alerts both the driver and the client of unsafe driving practices. Distracted driving can happen to anyone who may be tired or distracted by their cell phone,” said Marcela Barreiro, President and CEO, Daimler Truck Mexico, to MBN


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Sofía Garduño Sofía Garduño Journalist & Industry Analyst