The American automaker Ford has introduced new safety technology for cars known as cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) communications. The technology enables cars to communicate with everything around them to increase awareness of nearby vehicles and even the infrastructure of the road being driven. Ford is the first automaker with a formal timeline for introducing C-V2X systems in all of its new car models in three years.

Improving Safety with Technology
Automakers have been working for some time on vehicle to vehicle (V2V) technology that lets cars communicate directly with one another. C-V2X takes the technology one step further to connect cars with everything around them including pedestrians. Companies are working towards the goal of improving traffic patterns and navigation and thereby reducing both auto wrecks and pedestrian accidents.

Ford announced its ambitious program at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show. At the show the automaker demonstrated how cars equipped with C-V2X systems can recognize other vehicles and communicate with them even when the other vehicle is not within the driver’s viewpoint. The technology can also alert the driver to when a stoplight will change or of road conditions up ahead. The location of a pedestrian carrying a smartphone could be transmitted to nearby drivers making them aware of their presence in a crosswalk.

Other uses of C-V2X include determining right of way at intersections, notifying vehicles in the area about accidents and other obstacles, and sending out alerts that an emergency vehicle is approaching so that vehicles pull over and clear the roadway.

The C-V2X technology is expected to complement the existing technologies available through Ford Co-Pilot360 which consists of a blind-spot information system, rear back up camera, a lane keeping system, auto high beam lighting, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. Ford expects to significantly improve safety and reduce car accidents by adding C-V2X to all cars produced in the United States from 2022.

Rival Technologies Available
V2V systems are being promoted by several automakers as the wave of the future especially as self-driving cars become a reality. Japanese automaker Toyota has developed its own V2V communications system it calls DSRC or dedicated range communications. Toyota is planning to implement DSRC in Toyota and Lexus vehicles sold in the U.S. starting in 2021. The company is aiming to include the safety technology in most of its lineup by the mid-2020s. Other automakers committed to using DSRC include General Motors and Volkswagen.

Preventing Traffic Accidents
Although automakers go to great lengths to produce cars that protect occupants from injury in the event of a wreck, the newest developments in technology are designed to prevent accidents from happening. Every year in the United States, there are nearly 40,000 traffic-related fatalities and the use of new technology could reduce those numbers.

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Mr. Mark D. Chappell

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