There would be fewer accidents if drivers could tell each other about accidents and other potentially dangerous obstacles. That’s why Ford has started sharing its own car data, which includes airbag activations, emergency braking and fog light usage, with other manufacturers. In theory, these signals are a good indication of something problematic on the road. Once that information has been sent to the cloud, it can be distributed to other drivers who are taking a similar route. According to Ford, these alerts can also be passed on to emergency services, increasing their general awareness and, hopefully, shortening response times.
Ford has been working on this service for some time. Twelve months ago, the automaker launched Local Hazard Information, which collects and shares the necessary data with other Ford vehicles, on its then-new Puma. The company also promised that “more than 80 per cent” of its “passenger vehicle line-up” would get the data-sharing service by the end of the year.
The information is more useful, however, if its being shared with other companies. That’s where the Data for Road Safety initiative comes in. Backed by the European Commission, it’s meant to create a “Safety-Related Traffic Information (SRTI) ecosystem” that benefits all drivers. Last month, the initiative announced that a five-year agreement had been struck between multiple car manufacturers, component suppliers, road traffic authorities, EU member states and location technology providers.
If the work continues, it could make the world’s network of roads a dramatically safer place. A bit like Waze’s accident-reporting feature, but without the need for drivers to manually submit or verify incidents. “Road-safety data sharing ecosystems are more effective the more vehicles and telematics sources they include," Peter Geffers, a Ford manager for connected vehicles said. "Extending the benefits of this technology to those who do not drive Ford cars represents a significant step forwards.”