The fact that Ford is soon going to be releasing its EVs on the global market is not as surprising as the fact that it is working on “intelligent” vehicles to help us in traffic. So “intelligent” that they could just save your life!
I’s official: we will start seeing Ford EVs later this year. First an electric Ford Focus, then a plug-in hybrid and to finish the year in a great way, an electric version of the C-MAX. When all those will actually start selling on the market, the end of this decade will find the company with 25% of its cars electric.
Ford is not only planning on putting batteries and electric drivetrains in the cars, but also wants to re-think the whole purpose of the car. As far as we know it, a car serves mainly for the transport of people or goods. Ford is thinking further, about how this transportation is being done: is it safe enough, does it guide you well enough in traffic?
These are all questions Ford is trying very hard to answer through its intelligent vehicles to be presented this month at a few markets in California. They have Wi-Fi and GPS systems that enable drivers to communicate with other vehicles in traffic. So, to tackle the issue of safety, an intelligent vehicle could prevent you from running into another car at a short distance in front of you, at an intersection or parking lot, if a driver looses control of his own car. All that is being made possible through the Wi-Fi-based radio system, which offers a full range, 360-degree line of sight to signal obstacles.
Plus, an intelligent vehicle aims at being very helpful in traffic as well: it will tell you what route to take to avoid traffic jams and how crowded is the road ahead. That could save us a lot of time, money and, le’s face it, nerve-racking situations. This is especially true in the last years, when, according to a study by the Texas Transportation Institute last year, traffic congestion has become worse: it consumes 3.9 billion gallons of fuel, costs the average LA commuter $1,464/year and you can imagine how much it pollutes the air!
To make intelligent vehicles become a reality, Ford has taken on partnerships with a lot of institutions and organizations: the federal government, local and county road commissions and other automakers. They all have a deadline set for 2013. It they meet it, then we may have stumbled upon a real breakthrough in the history of car making!