How Ford Is Stopping Drivers from Driving the Wrong Way

You see them all the time: red circles with a white rectangle and the words, “DO NOT ENTER.” Wrong way signs surely help prevent motorists from taking a wrong turn and driving against traffic, but sadly, they’re not always effective. Wrong-way driving is responsible for hundreds of fatal accidents every year, and this is something that Ford is trying to diminish with some smart new technology called Wrong-Way Alert.

The Problem

Of course, it’s highly unlikely that a driver going to go the wrong way down a street or highway on their daily commute. The real issue comes when the driver is travelling through an area that’s unfamiliar. While signs may indicate a wrong-way turn, it’s sometimes difficult to see among other signage, and a person who’s driving in a new area is likely to be focusing on where they’re going, not so much the details of the signs around them. Wrong-way driving is especially dangerous when the driver is turning onto a high-speed freeway. It’s a hazard for both the wrong-way driver and the drivers of oncoming cars.

How Wrong-Way Alert Works

Ford’s new Wrong-Way Alert technology relies on information from two devices: the car’s GPS navigation system and a windshield-mounted camera. The navigation system detects if the driver is going the wrong way, while a camera keeps an eye out for wrong-way signs that might not be listed in the navigation system’s database. When the system detects that a driver is going the wrong way, it will send visual and audio alerts to the driver.

The Bigger Picture

Wrong-Way Alert isn’t the only technology that Ford is working on to promote safer driving. The company has promised to triple its investment in driver-assisting technologies, and the wrong-way detection tech is just part of a package of similar technologies. The new features include self-parking, obstacle detection, collision avoidance, and smart front lighting that changes depending on which way you’re turning. Together, these advancements should do a lot to make driving safer for everyone.

When You Can Expect to See the Technology

Ford aims to have this technology in its cars within two years. So, while there’s no set schedule for Wrong-Way Alert–along with the rest of the new technology–you can expect to see it very soon. It’s also worth noting that nobody’s sure yet which of these technologies will come standard. There’s a chance that some of the features could come standard while others are reserved for premium models. For instance, current Ford Focus models offer rear-view camera standard while driver-assist technologies only come premium.

While we’re still in the relatively early days of driver-assist safety features, it’s good to see Ford take the initiative in developing features that will protect driving safer for both the driver and the general public. No matter if these new features come standard or not, there’s little doubting the benefit of getting them out into the market – within 10 to 20 years, this life-saving tech could be expected in every car, Ford or not, that comes off the line.

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