Next-gen assistant systems address rising traffic density

July 02, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Ford Motor Company is about to develop the next generation of intelligent driver assistant systems. The systems are intended to address the challenges associated to the increasing demand for individual mobility against the background of the world's growing population. The carmaker now introduced two technology innovations that will offload drivers in amidst dense traffic and make car driving more energy efficient.

One of the innovations introduced is the Traffic Jam Assist: In some geographies drivers waste more than 30 percent of the time in the car in traffic jams. Ford's new Traffic Jam Assist, which will possibly be available for purchase from 2017, combines pattern recognition and radar technology to enable the driver to go with the flow and reduce the stress for driver. As a side effect, the traffic flow could be optimized, said Ford Advance Development engineer Joseph Urhahne. "Our TJA reduces the stress for the driver since the car autonomously adjusts itself to the speed of the vehicle driving in front. This could cause the traffic stall intensity to be significantly reduced".

According to Ford, simulations have shown that the travel time can be reduced by up to 27 percent, if at least 25 percent of the vehicles are enabled to adapt their speed to the vehicle in front.

The other innovation is a parking assistant that can make use of parking gaps lateral to the vehicle. The system builds on existing parking assistant systems and utilizes ultrasound technology to measure the distances. After having determined the size of the parking gap, a computer coupled to the electric steering system takes control. The driver still has to care for the longitudinal movement by appropriately activating brake, clutch and gas pedal. The sensors also identify any obstacles in the trajectory.