Ford emergency trials can pinpoint source of sirens

  • New Ford tech locates approaching emergency vehicle
  • Faster arrival for police, ambulances, fire engines
  • Other tech alerts drivers to red-light drivers
EARLY WARNING SYSTEM FOR ROADS: Image: Ford Motors / Newspress
EARLY WARNING SYSTEM FOR ROADS: Image: Ford Motors / Newspress

BRENTWOOD, England – Trying to locate the source of an emergency siren while at the wheel can be stressful and, if you’re in freeway traffic, potentially dangerous as you look around to get out of the way.

The progress of an emergency vehicle will be slowed if other vehicles don’t get quickly and safely out of the way.

Now Ford has developed technology that sends a signal from ambulances, fire engines or police cars directly to nearby drivers so they will know exactly where and how far away the emergency vehicle is.

WATCH THE system in action here.

In the UK in 2015 there were 475 crashes involving emergency services vehicles for Ford believes its tech – audible and visual alerts on the instrument cluster – could one day even advise drivers on the best course of action to get out of the way safely.

Christian Ress, supervisor of Automated Driving Europe with Ford Research and Advanced Engineering, told The Corner in a media release: “This technology could shave vital seconds in an emergency.”

‘FIVE-MINUTE’ EMERGENCY PLEDGE

Ford has been demonstrating its Emergency Vehicle Warning technology at a UK Autodrive event, a £20-million government-sponsored trial of connected cars supported by 16 technology and automotive businesses, local authorities and academic institutions.

Peter Allington of the Road Casualty Reduction Team in West Midlands (Central England)  Fire Service, said: “We have a pledge to attend serious incidents within five minutes. Connected technologies such as these could help us reach injured people even more quickly.”

BATTLE AGAINST CROSSROAD CRISES

Ford is also testing tech that can alert drivers to a potential collision at an approaching road junction. With Intersection Collision Warning cars will broadcast their location to nearby vehicles which – if equipped with the same technology – can calculate the risk and, if high, warn both drivers to slow down or stop.

For example, it could alert drivers when a car approaching from another direction has ignored a red traffic light.

Previously, as part of the trials, Ford showcased systems that warn when vehicles ahead, perhaps around a blind corner, have braked hard. Other systems can synchronise with traffic lights to “ride the green wave”.

Trials of each of the four technologies will continue in the Coventry and Milton Keynes areas of England until the end of 2018 when UK Autodrive will be finalised.

MEANWHILE, SOME SAFETY TIPS…

UK emergency services have the following safety tips for drivers when they hear an emergency vehicle siren. They could be just as useful here in South Africa:

  • Keep calm, look and listen. If you hear a siren, assume an emergency vehicle is coming your way and give yourself time to plan.
  • Turn off your car radio so you can hear the siren.
  • Look for somewhere safe to pull over and perhaps stop. Use your indicators to show you’re pulling over and avoid confusion with other road users.
  • Make sure you leave enough space for the vehicle to pass. Be aware there may be more than one emergency vehicle in the convoy.
  • Stay safe, stay legal. Don’t go through a red light or enter a bus lane unless directed to do so by a uniformed police officer.
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