updated 12:00 pm EST, Wed January 26, 2011
Ford to use Wi-Fi and phones for car warnings
Ford this morning claimed to be the first car builder to develop a practical wireless system that would let cars talk to each other. Using Wi-Fi or a secure FCC-given frequency, cars would detect each other within range and warn each other of traffic dangers. It could alert the driver of other cars reaching a blind intersection, if a car up ahead has suddenly stopped or gone erratic, or if a traffic jam would make a detour faster.
The approach would theoretically improve on radar since it doesn't need a line of sight.
While cars themselves could have the feature built-in, technical lead Mike Shulman suggested that smartphones or GPS units could use their own Wi-Fi and simply tether to the car to provide the information themselves. A dedicated wireless connection could give better reception or allow the use of the FCC's promised airwaves.
Ford is working with the government and is hoping for a universal standard that wouldn't be limited to its own vehicles. It currently plans to deliver two experimental Taurus sedans to the Department of Transportation this summer for testing and hopes for a finished standard sometime in 2013.