Smartphone tech prowess may help Ford cars detect 'hidden' pedestrians

Ford's new technology uses smartphone-based Bluetooth connectivity to alert drivers about unseen objects, pedestrians, bicyclists, construction object
Ford is yet to reveal when this technology will be available in mass market. (REUTERS)
Ford is yet to reveal when this technology will be available in mass market.

Ford is toying with a new smartphone-based advanced safety technology that allows the cars to see pedestrians who are hidden from the vehicle's view. This comes as an addition to the advanced safety technologies that modern vehicles use to see around them. These technologies include blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection etc.

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The conventional camera and radar-based safety technologies require line-of-sight detection. This means these technologies are unable to detect objects, people, and bicyclists that are obscured from the view line. The US auto major aims to change that by bringing in new smartphone-based communication technology. This is claimed to detect such objects, people using Bluetooth Low Energy technology.

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The automaker has already joined hands with Ohio State University, T-Mobile, Tome Software, Commsignia, and PSS to research the viability of this technology. The technology is claimed to allow Ford vehicles to differentiate between pedestrians and bicyclists. This comes after the fatalities related to crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists increased substantially in 2021.

Speaking about this technology, Jim Buczkowski, Ford's executive director of research and advanced engineering, said that the automaker is now exploring ways to expand vehicle sensing capability for areas where the drivers cannot see. He also said that this would help people drive even more confidently on roads increasingly shared by others using their two feet or two wheels.

The automaker also claimed that it is not only thinking about pedestrians and bicyclists only. It is planning to expand the coverage horizon of this technology beyond that in order to make driving vehicles much safer. It would be able to alert the Ford vehicles by detecting construction zones and construction workers as well. In a nutshell, Ford is foreseeing a future where vehicles would become significantly safer than now. Not only drivers but pedestrians and bicyclists too will be safer in that process.

First Published Date: 21 Sep 2022, 10:29 AM IST

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