Ford and Vodafone are now testing new connected-vehicle technology that could make it easier to find parking spaces in city centres. It’s called Parking Space Guidance technology and displays to drivers the number of spaces offered by nearby car parks and how to get to them. The Parking Space Guidance, updated in real-time based on car park data, is being trialled by Ford and Vodafone as part of the KoMoD (Kooperative Mobilitat im digitalen Testfeld Dusseldorf) programme, in Germany, a 15 million Euro cross-industry project testing new connected-vehicle and automated driving technologies. As test vehicles drive through the city, they receive road status and car park information from a central computer system, based on their geolocation, along with information from nearby dynamic digital road signs.
Tobias Wallerius, engineer, Product Development, Ford of Europe said, “Satnavs are great at helping us to get to our destination but aren’t so useful when it comes to helping us to park there – especially in city centres. Parking Space Guidance is a connected-vehicle technology that could help drivers to more quickly complete their journey, saving them money, time and benefitting overall air quality.”
Beside this, there’s also the Traffic Light Assistance System, in which the time remaining on upcoming red or green traffic signals is displayed on the instrument panel. Then there’s the Tunnel Information System which provides advance information about lane closures, speed limits and slow-moving vehicles in tunnels up ahead.
The companies are also testing the Traffic Control Systems on the motorway help to improve the overall traffic flow by adapting speed limits. The Smart traffic sign transmission sends speed limit and hazard sign information directly to vehicle displays. While traffic sign recognition using cameras is present in many vehicles, it can be challenged in poor weather or surrounded by high-sided vehicles. Transmitting sign information to the vehicle using a cellular connection directly from the sign or a nearby road-side unit ensures drivers see important safety information.
Bad weather warning automatically communicates weather conditions from one vehicle to others nearby; for example, if a vehicle’s automated windscreen wipers detect rain, it will broadcast this to advise nearby drivers via their in-vehicle displays in case they may wish to adjust their speed or route.
For now, information broadcast between vehicles is intended to enable drivers to make informed decisions about their journeys. However, vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications – such as those in the KoMoD trial – may play an important role in a future in which autonomous vehicles could respond automatically to them.
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