Ford has announced that it plans to fit 80 per cent of its 2020 vehicles in the European market with technology that has the capability to warn drivers about any potential traffic jams, accidents and bad weather. Ford conducted a successful trial of the new technology called Local Hazard Information Technology (LHI) on its Ford Puma in Europe and plans to slowly roll out LHI on most of its new models. The system works by collating data from other connected road users, emergency services and the authorities and transmitting it directly from the cloud to the vehicle. Motorists get the alerts in the form of information displayed on the car’s dashboard display.
Peter Geffers, Manger Connected Vehicles, Platform and Products at Ford of Europe said in an interview to MailOnline that Ford was the first vehicle manufacturer to offer this kind of technology. According to Ford, the technology will leverage information from other Ford cars to alert other users. Vehicles will be equipped with the FordPass Connect embedded modem which is connected to the cloud through a 4G connection and will thus automatically transmit the information to other users. An alert can be triggered by diverse events including airbag deployment, activation of hazard warning lights and use of windscreen wipers in the case of bad weather.
Ford said LHI could be used for events ranging from hailstorms to sudden floods to even landslides. Information derived from external sources including official police notifications will also be curated and distributed.
While current apps require manual input, in the case of the LHI, all this will be done autonomously. Motorists need not have any concerns about privacy as the information and data is anonymized and protected and drivers have the option of choosing to share their location with Ford for it to function properly. The channel between the vehicle and cloud is encrypted and there would be no sharing of trip data. ‘The customer needs to share their location with Ford in order to provide the location for the sensor data and to determine if a hazard is relevant for a vehicle or not. A customer can use the customer connectivity settings menu to turn off the location. Information is shared anonymously between the Ford cloud and Vodafone cloud.
Joerg Beyer, executive director of engineering at Ford in Europe, said that what made the LHI system different is that it depends on the connection between the cars through the Internet of Things rather than
on third party apps. The warnings provided through the system are specific, relevant and tailored with the purpose of improving the motorist’s specific journey.
According to Geffers said, the all-new Ford Puma would be the first vehicle to have the feature, as part of a free two-year subscription with other Ford products set to follow throughout 2020.
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