Ford Gives Cars a Voice


We all know vehicles are becoming more connected, but could they actually learn to talk to each other? Automakers and the government are working to develop technology that could allow cars to communicate wirelessly—in essence talking to each other via Wi-Fi.

Ford Motor Co.,, recently announced it is ramping up its commitment to wirelessly connected intelligent vehicles, or what it calls vehicle-to-vehicle communications. The company is building prototype cars for use in demonstrations, and Ford says it’s doubling its intelligent-vehicle investment in 2011. The demonstration vehicles are scheduled to debut this spring.

Ford says its research on vehicle-to-vehicle communications deals with allowing cars to “talk” wirelessly with each other using advanced Wi-Fi signals, or dedicated short-range communication, on a secured channel allocated by the Federal Communications Commission. The Wi-Fi signals provide 360-degree detection of any potential hazards for the driver.

“Ford believes intelligent vehicles that talk to each other through advanced Wi-Fi are the next frontier of collision avoidance innovations that could revolutionize the driving experience and hold the potential of helping reduce many crashes,” says Sue Cache, Ford’s group vice president for Sustainability, Environment, and Safety Engineering.

Ford gives the example of a system that could alert drivers if their vehicle was on a path to collide with another vehicle at an intersection.

But Ford isn’t in it alone. Other automakers, the federal government, and local and county road commissions are working to create standards for this type of vehicle communication. The industry wants to make sure all vehicles can talk to each other.

The interoperability issue will be key for making a system like this work. Automakers will need to collaborate to ensure any standard decided upon will work for all vehicles going forward.

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