Ford is developing a mobile app to alert drivers to pedestrians and cyclists who appear in their vicinity. The app is reportedly scheduled to debut at the Intelligent Transportation Society of America World Congress in Los Angeles this week. It is understood to use Bluetooth low energy to send location alerts from a pedestrian’s or cyclist’s smartphone to a Ford vehicle equipped with the latest infotainment system.
The system then calculates potential collision risk and provides on-screen and audio alerts.
Ford said it will use T-Mobile’s 5G Advanced Network Solution and research from ComMSIgnia, PSS, Ohio State University and Tome Software to demonstrate the technology. Ford said there are other potential uses for the technology, including detecting construction zones and construction workers.
The automaker said the feature is intended to complement, not replace, its Co-Pilot360 advanced driver assistance system. The safety package includes features such as automatic lane keeping and blind spot assistance.
Newer Ford vehicles already equipped with Ford Co-Pilot360 technology can detect and help warn drivers of pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and others – and even apply the brakes if the driver does not react in time,” Jim Buczkowski, executive director of Ford Research and Advanced Engineering, said in a statement. We’re now exploring ways to expand vehicle sensing capabilities for places drivers can’t see, as a way to help people drive more confidently on roads increasingly shared by others using two feet or two wheels.”
Rather than relying on cameras or radar, which is because they can only detect people and objects within line of sight, Bluetooth low-energy technology uses radio waves to detect buildings and other obstacles. Ford did not provide details about the distance at which pedestrians are detected – a key factor for drivers who may need to react quickly.
The technology is already widely used in smartphones and usually has to be paired with other devices to communicate. Ford says its app can communicate with multiple similar devices within range without the need for pairing.