Ford Motor Company continues to expand its involvement in the new wave of driverless vehicle technology with its early prototype of Traffic Jam Assist, which takes over a car?s steering, breaking, and acceleration in congested traffic.
The technology is being developed for the mid-term and builds on Ford?s already-available active park assist, adaptive cruise control, Lane-Keeping Aid and the PowerShift transmission to automatically keep pace with other vehicles in congested traffic.
The system follows the vehicle ahead with advanced radar and camera technology and is adapted to react to fellow drivers in cut-off scenarios.
According to Ford?s press release:
Individual simulation studies have found that where 25 percent of vehicles on a stretch of road are equipped to automatically follow the traffic ahead, journey times can be reduced by 37.5 percent and delays reduced by 20 percent ? saving millions of gallons of fuel each year.
Similarly, the company?s active park assist technology will be advanced to include automated perpendicular parking in addition to parallel parking.
Although individual simulation studies have found that journey times could be reduced by 37.5 percent and delays reduced by 20 percent ? saving millions of gallons of fuel each year ? if one in four vehicles on a stretch of road were equipped with such adaptive technology, the cost of such systems raises consumer alarms.
According to J.D. Power?s 2012 U.S. AUTOMOTIVE EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES STUDY, of the more than 17,400 vehicle owners polled, roughly 37 percent said they would ?definitely? or ?probably? purchase such a technology if it was available as a feature in their next car; that figure dropped to 20 percent once those surveyed heard that the cost was around $3000.
The question remains: how much are drivers willing to pay for more free time and safer conditions during their daily commute?