Ford tests sounds of bicycle bells, footsteps as smart driver alert
Ford has started testing smart driver alert technology where the company is overlooking the use of specific speakers that will help to indicate the direction from which people and objects are approaching. And, this is being done by using in-car audio to convey the exact location of the object or pedestrians.
A team of engineers are also putting to test intuitive sounds such as bicycle bells, footsteps and vehicle noises that will warn drivers when pedestrians are nearby. The company says these driver alerts which will come in the form of visual displays and warning tones will help the users to negotiate their daily drive journeys.
Currently, Ford vehicles offer driver assistance technologies that are equipped with a suite of sensors to identify when pedestrians, cyclists or other nearby vehicles. These technologies offer visual and audible alerts to the driver and if necessary, also apply emergency braking. The new Directional Audio Alert uses the information from the sensors to select the appropriate sound and play it through the speaker closest to the obstacle, Ford conveys.
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The automaker shares the initial tests has revealed positive results where drivers who used Directional Audio Alerts were significantly more accurate, to be specific by 74 per cent, when it came to identifying potential hazards and their position. Oliver Kirstein, SYNC software engineer, Enterprise Connectivity, Ford of Europe says current warning tones already inform drivers when they need to take care and be vigilant. Tomorrow’s technology could alert us to both exactly what the hazard is and where it is coming from, adds Kirstein.
The engineers have also set up a real-world scenario on the test track with a vehicle backing out of a parking space, an approaching pedestrian and the footsteps alert and Ford mentions participants in the test responded positively to the footsteps sound, especially when this intuitive alert was played through a specific speaker. The company believes those results might be further improved by using 3D spatial sound that is used in movies and gaming to better enable drivers to identify the source of the hazard.