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Ford developing semi-autonomous Traffic Jam Assist

Ford is developing a semi-autonomous technology that could take some of the pain out of being in a traffic jam by reducing driver stress, improving traffic flow, and potentially helping to prevent accidents. In congestion, the semi-autonomous technology Traffic Jam Assist increases comfort by assisting the driver with steering, braking and acceleration.

Ford also is developing technologies that assist drivers to stay centered in their lane, to continue in cruise control even after coming to a stop, and to park by remote control.

Traffic Jam Assist, activated at the push of a button when a traffic jam is encountered, identifies the position of vehicles in front using a grille-mounted radar and the location of lane markings using a front-facing camera behind the windshield.

The driver can take over at any time by using the pedals, the steering wheel or the indicators. The system also regularly monitors the driver’s interaction with the steering wheel. If the system detects a lack of steering interaction, it will issue acoustic and visual warnings. Depending upon the vehicle speed and location, the frequency of warnings will vary. The driver is still required to monitor the driving environment and to be prepared to take control of the vehicle at any time.

Traffic Jam Assist is made possible by the combination of two technologies that are also in development, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go and Lane Centering Aid. Lane Centering Aid assists the driver to keep the vehicle centered in its lane. The technology builds on Ford’s existing Lane Keeping Aid technology.

At the push of a button, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go is designed to utilize radar and camera information to detect the location and distance of vehicles ahead. It reduces the speed for slower vehicles and then resumes the desired speed when traffic clears. The operating range now enables drivers easily to resume their speed after a complete halt.

A recent Ford-commissioned survey of 5,500 commuters in major European cities found that commuting by car to work can be more stressful than work itself.


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