Ford is trialling new connected car technology that helps drivers avoid red lights and improves traffic flow.
The Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory uses information on traffic light timings from a roadside unit to display to the driver the best speed to travel to get a green light.
“There’s not much worse after a long day than to hit one red light after another on the drive home, and be forced to stop and start again at every junction,” commented Christian Ress from Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. “Enabling drivers to ‘ride the green wave’ also means a smoother, continuous journey that helps to improve the flow of traffic and provide significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions and fuel consumption.”
Research by Confused.com found that there are more than 33,800 traffic light systems on British roads, and the average British driver spends two days a year waiting at red lights.
With the new system, if a driver cannot avoid hitting a red light the display shows how long they will have to wait until the light turns green.
Similar technologies already enable cyclists in Copenhagen and Amsterdam to avoid red lights. And across Europe, sensors or timers synchronise traffic lights on busy streets to improve traffic flow, Ford said.
The car maker is also trialling technology that provides advanced warning when a vehicle up ahead suddenly brakes hard, even if it is not visible to the driver.
Additional trials next year will include technologies that: warn drivers when another vehicle is blocking the junction ahead; inform drivers when an ambulance, police car or fire truck is approaching; and prioritise vehicles arriving at intersections without traffic signs or traffic lights.
The trials are taking place on public roads and closed circuits in Milton Keynes and Coventry over the next two years as part of UK Autodrive — the country’s largest self-driving and connected car trial.