First publishedon www.ITSInternational.com
Phantom traffic jams can be minimised through adaptive cruise control (ACC) technology, says Ford. These traffic jams occur when one driver hits the brakes and causes a chain reaction of other drivers tapping their brakes which causes traffic flow to halt.
Ford conducted a test alongside Vanderbilt University researchers on a closed test track involving 36 vehicles across three lanes.
The motor company says the main causes of phantom jams are human factors such as merging into traffic without signalling, distracted driving, poor driving habits, slow reaction times or unnecessary braking.
Initially, drivers without ACC were tested with lead vehicles in each lane slowing down from 60mph to 40mph to replicate a traffic disturbance. These drivers braked harder than the vehicle ahead – and this led to traffic slowing down to a crawl in some cases.
The test was repeated with all vehicles using ACC set at 62mph, which outperformed human drivers in nearly every braking situation. The system allows vehicles to slow down automatically and speed up to keep pace with the car in front.
Daniel Work, civil engineering professor, says humans still have an advantage over machines in their ability to see one or more vehicles ahead, which enables them to be more precise in their response to traffic slow-downs.
Michael Kane, supervisor, Ford Co-Pilot360 Technology, says: “Give ample space between you and the vehicle ahead, stay alert and that will always help traffic flow more smoothly, and help us all get to our destinations on time.”
The 2019 Ford Edge will be the first SUV to include Ford Co-Pilot360 – a suite of standard driver-assist technologies which include pedestrian detection, blind spot information system with cross-traffic alert, lane keeping system, rear view camera and auto high-beam headlamps.