It is critical for personnel who respond to emergency calls in emergency circumstances to get to the location as quickly as possible. The factors that contribute to their slowing down might have fatal repercussions. Ford has tested linked traffic signal technology that can automatically switch green to create clearer roads for ambulances, fire engines, and police cars. Additionally, this might assist minimize the likelihood of an accident caused by rescue personnel driving through a red light.

"Whether it's a fire truck guarding a fire or an ambulance on its way to an accident, the last thing anyone wants is for these drivers to be forced to stop among other vehicles waiting for the traffic lights to turn on," says Martin Sommer, research engineer, Automated Driving Europe, Ford of Europe.

Traffic congestion can be eased by traffic signals that communicate the red-green status to approaching cars.

The trial was part of a more significant effort to evaluate autonomous and connected cars and network infrastructure on highways, cities, and rural regions. This research demonstrates Ford's commitment to enhancing the driving experience via linked technologies and innovation.

Ford tested the system on a route in Aachen, Germany, with eight consecutive traffic lights and two portions with three successive traffic lights outside the city, set up by project partners.

For the numerous test scenarios, a Ford Kuga Plug-In Hybrid outfitted with onboard gadgets (to interface with the traffic lights infrastructure), and prototype hardware for fast control functioned as an ambulance and passenger car.

To test an real emergency, the test car signaled to the traffic lights to turn green. Then, the traffic lights resumed normal functioning as the test car drove across the intersection. The test car was provided with timestamps for when traffic lights changed from red to green and green to red to simulate everyday driving scenarios. Ford's Adaptive Cruise Control system then altered the vehicle's speed to guarantee that a more significant proportion of traffic encountered a green light.

When the traffic light was red, the vehicle's speed was dropped significantly before the junction to timing the vehicle's approach to arrive at the traffic light just as it turned green, for example, from 50 to 30 kilometers per hour.

For cars approaching red lights, the technology can still assist in reducing harsh braking and downtime. In addition, the vehicle got information about the traffic signal far in advance of the intersection and slowed down early, which helped alleviate delays.

The Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technology enables the communication between automobiles and traffic signals. The Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything is a single platform that links vehicles to roadside infrastructure, other vehicles, and other road users.

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Ford engineers evaluated this system as part of the Corridor for New Mobility Aachen-Düsseldorf (ACCorD) project, sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport and supported by RWTH Aachen, Vodafone, and the city of Aachen. The project began in January 2020 and concluded in March of the current year.


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