New vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology developed by Ford alerts drivers when an emergency vehicle is approaching.
It sends a signal from the ambulance, fire engine or police car directly to nearby drivers, providing audible and visual alerts that tell them exactly where the siren is coming from, and how far away it is.
In the future, the technology – known as Emergency Vehicle Warning – could also advise drivers on the best course of action to safely get out of the way.
Announcing the technology, Ford noted that in 2015 there were 475 road accidents involving emergency services vehicles in the UK.
“Time is precious for emergency services and this technology could help to shave valuable seconds off their journeys by enabling drivers to avoid being an obstruction,” said Christian Ress from Ford Research and Advanced Engineering.
Ford is also trialling technology that alerts drivers to potential accidents when they are approaching a junction, for example when unseen vehicles have ignored a red traffic light. An Intersection Collision Warning allows the car to broadcast its location to nearby vehicles which – if equipped with the same technology – then calculate the risk of a crash. If the risk is high, a warning tells both drivers to slow down or stop.
Previous connected car technologies announced by Ford include a system that warns when cars ahead, which may be hidden by a bend in the road, brake hard; as well as technology that helps drivers avoid red traffic lights.
Trials of all four technologies are taking place in Coventry and Milton Keynes as part of UK Autodrive, a government-sponsored trial of connected cars.