Ford tests smart traffic lights
Ford is testing connected traffic light technology that could turn green for ambulances, police vehicles and fire engines to improve response times and safety. The same technology could also improve traffic flow and will be essential for automated and connected vehicles.
For the test, Ford used a road with eight consecutive traffic lights in Aachen, Germany, as well as three consecutive sets of lights just outside the city. A Ford Kuga Plug-in Hybrid equipped with prototype on-board communication devices acted as both an ambulance and passenger vehicle.
During the emergency response test, the Kuga signalled for the lights to turn green, allowing the vehicle through before returning to their standard operation. When acting as a passenger car, the technology instead sent the vehicle information about the traffic lights timing sequence, and Ford’s adaptive cruise control altered its speed to ensure it hit more green lights.
If the traffic light ahead was red, the car’s speed was reduced well ahead of the junction, helping to time its approach to arrive as it turned green ‘for example from 30mph to 20mph’, helping to reduce congestion. The communication uses Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technology, described as a unified platform connecting vehicles to roadside infrastructure, other vehicles, and other road users.