Ford’s Detroit Auto Show Event Sees the Connected Car Everywhere

Ford has seen the future of cars, and it involves a ton of connectivity. The company detailed its vision at the Detroit Auto Show on Monday of cars and infrastructure working together to make roads safer. It comes as the company prepares to launch a wide range of vehicles, replacing 75 percent of its American offerings by 2020.

“These vehicles are laying the foundation for a new way of thinking about mobility and our future,” Ford CEO Jim Hackett said on stage during the company’s presentation. “It begins with connectivity. We’re connecting every new Ford vehicle to the cloud, and soon these vehicles will talk to the world around them and each other through a technology called C-V2X.”

The technology, Ford explained in a Medium post, could help complement the autonomous car. It covers “vehicle to infrastructure” systems like traffic lights that can tell cars of their current status, stopping vehicles from running a red light or telling drivers when the lights will change, or road signs that can offer more information on roadworks. It also covers “vehicle to vehicle” which could relay data to individual cars, making it easier to navigate a four-way stop. Ford states that it plans to include C-V2X in every new vehicle model from 2022 in the United States.

Ford also demonstrated the 2020 Police Interceptor at the same event, which uses the Police Interceptor Utility to send back information to the department. It also has a perimeter alert to detect “potentially threatening behavior” in a 270-degree area, making a noise and locking the doors when triggered.

The Ford Police Interceptor.Ford

These advancements are aimed at improving safety for drivers without changing too much about how people use their cars, as opposed to semi-autonomous driving systems like Tesla Autopilot that act as a step toward fully autonomous driving.

“A few weeks ago I got an email from one of our employees,” Hackett said. “She told me that her daughter was recently driving home, likely wasn’t paying attention. She came around a corner, would have slammed into the car in front of her. She wouldn’t have seen it. But instead the automatic emergency brakes on her Ford Edge stopped the car. She came away without a scratch, thank goodness. What makes me proud is that we are building that braking system into all of our vehicles.”

Ford’s next stage in this plan will require broad support for C-V2X in a standardized way, so it’s inviting “other automakers, infrastructure and road operators, as well as government agencies to work with us to accelerate momentum for C-V2X.” With Cadillac and Toyota already expressing interest, the latter aiming for broad deployment in the United States by 2021, Ford may find itself joining a big crowd when its vehicles hit the roads.

Related video: Ford and Argo AI Test Self-Driving Cars in Miami

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