Ford Tests Smart Traffic Lights Technology for Emergency Vehicles

When it comes to futuristic tech, Ford never falls behind. Now, the famed company is bringing a new life-saving tech for emergency vehicles like ambulances and police cars. This new technology can clear traffic for such emergency vehicles, providing them with an uncluttered path of green lights until they reach the required destinations. Sounds intriguing, right? Let’s dive into this magical tech in detail.

The Technology

The director of consumer services and innovation at Vodafone Germany, Michael Reinartz, has described Ford’s C-V2X technology, stating it’s driven by real-time data exchange between the emergency vehicles and their surrounding cars with the control of traffic lights changing on the road. It uses the latest cellular phone technology to make road traffic more efficient and safer for emergency-purpose vehicles. Reducing the unnecessary waiting times, this tech can help save lives, especially when every second counts. Hinting that this is also a green technology, Mr. Reinartz has further elaborated that the focus of the new technology by Ford is intelligent traffic light control, which also cuts CO2 emissions to a great extent.

The Trial

This new magic traffic light by Ford has been on a trial run since 2020. Aachen in Germany was the ground for this trial testing. For the trials, a road with eight consecutive traffic light sets was used. Then there were two further stretches with three consecutive traffic light sets. A Ford Kuga test car was equipped with connected transmitters, which acted as an emergency vehicle in various possible scenarios. The Ford Kuga was able to send data to the coming traffic lights to turn or stay green, and also could signal them to switch back when passed by. This technology helped the car reach different destinations faster, and also stopped it from running at full speed into red lights, removing the risk of dangerous collisions with other cars on the road.

The Possibilities

Interestingly, this thoughtful technology can also be used in normal cars, enabling them to slow down before upcoming red lights, decreasing hard braking. It will also help cars in normal conditions to keep moving until the light turns green, making the whole process of driving more efficient with fewer stops and starts. Though the project has been under trial from January 2020 to March this year, Ford has not yet released any official information on further trials or a possible public rollout. But, the successful trial in Germany has already made the anticipation high!

Facilitating Factors of Formula 1’s US Boom

The United States is currently witnessing a rapid increase in the popularity of Formula 1. While the British and French Grand Prix both exceeded the one million mark of average viewership, the United States also is setting records in almost every season. With an average of 946,000 viewers per race, the current season has experienced a significant 56% increase in viewership from the last season and a 41% upsurge from 2019. There are several driving factors behind this surprise boost of F1 in the US.

The Netflix Factor

According to John Suchenski, the director of programming and acquisitions of ESPN, the Netflix documentary series named Formula 1: Drive to Survive has certainly helped to create a larger fan base of Formula 1 in the US. The series has brought along more casual fans, who probably were not even dedicated Formula 1 fans. This also has made the US a priority, bringing more opportunities of investing in promotional weight. Using this opportunity, more grassroots level exposure is being benefited by the current ESPN and Formula 1 partnership.

Partnership With Sky

According to Suchenski, in the world of sports broadcasting, the channel Sky does the best job. So, working continuously with their partners in Sky and taking some of Sky’s shoulder programming as well, has helped ESPN to expand its target audience base and to strengthen the dedicated viewership. ESPN has taken Sky’s lead-up on Sunday, which has helped the audience to get under the tent earlier and creating a build-up for the upcoming race. ESPN is also broadcasting Sky’s post-race show digitally, which is helping the fans to continue their F1 experience, even after ESPN or ESPN 2 goes off-air. ESPN has been broadcasting the world championship since 2018, which is also a facilitating factor. The continuity of these F1 contents has bred a familiarity for the viewers, making the sports more easily accessible and ensuring dedicated viewership for a longer span.