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Ford working on tech to take the stress out of traffic jams, remote control parking

Traffic is awful. No matter how much you like cars, there’s no getting around that. Stressful as it is though, it’s just a part of daily life for many around the globe. In a bid to alleviate that stress, Ford is reportedly working on a number of high tech solutions.

Ford Traffic Jam Assist assists the driver in keeping the vehicle centred in the lane and brakes and accelerates to keep pace with the vehicle in front of it.

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According to Ford, if and when Traffic Jam Assist makes its way onto the market, it’ll be activated by pushing a button any time the driver encounters a traffic jam. The system identifies the position of vehicles in front using a grille-mounted radar; and the location of lane markings using a front-facing camera behind the windscreen.

If the driver takes over, they can do so by using the pedals, the steering wheel, or turn signal. The system reportedly monitors the driver’s interaction with the steering wheel on a regular basis. If the system detects a lack of steering interaction, it will issue acoustic and visual warnings. Depending upon the vehicle speed and location, the frequency of warnings will vary. However, the driver is still required to monitor the driving environment and be prepared to take control of the vehicle at any time.

“For many drivers, fighting heavy traffic on the way to work leaves them stressed, angry and exhausted, even before the work day begins. Traffic Jam Assist helps the driver maintain the distance to the vehicle ahead and helps to keep the vehicle centred in the lane. The system aims to reduce driver stress in dense traffic scenarios,” said Reid Steiger, technical expert, Automated Driving, Ford of Europe.

Traffic Jam Assist is made possible by the combination of two technologies that also are in development, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go and LaneCentering Aid.

At the push of a button, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go is designed to utiliseradar and camera information to detect the location and distance of vehicles ahead. It reduces the speed for slower vehicles andthenresumes the desired speed whentraffic clears. The operating range now enables drivers to easily resume their speed after a complete halt. **

Lane Centering Aid assists the driver to keep the vehicle centered in the drive lane. The technology builds on Ford’s existing Lane Keeping Aid technology.

“Whether you live in an area that constantly has traffic jams or just commute occasionally to areas where dense traffic jams are probable, Traffic Jam Assist aims to make those situations less stressful for the driver. This enables drivers to arrive at their destinations feeling more refreshed,” Steiger said.

Remote control parking

As well as traffic assist, Ford is working on Remote Park Assist technology, which controls steering, gear selection and forward and reverse motion to facilitate push-button parking. The technology builds on Ford’s existing Active Park Assist technology and will allow drivers to park their vehicles without having to be in them.

According to Ford, remote Park Assist will enable drivers to more easily park perpendicularly in narrow garages and crowded underground parking garages. Ford reckons the technology could help parents who sometimes struggle to help young ones out of the car after parking in a tight parking space adjacent to other vehicles. Using a special key fob, it says, the driver will be able to remotely start the engine and shift gears, from a better vantage point, standing near the vehicle.

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