Ford is currently developing a new autonomous drive technology that could make driving in congestion considerably less stressful. Traffic Jam Assist is designed to help the driver by keeping the vehicle centred within the lane markings and also brakes and accelerates the car to ensure that it keeps pace with the vehicle in front.
The system is activated by pushing a button on encountering a traffic jam and can then identify the position of vehicles in front of it by using a grille-mounted radar device and the location of lane markings using a front-facing camera behind the windscreen. The driver is able to take control of the car again whenever they want by using the pedals, the steering wheel or indicators. The system will also monitor if the driver is using the steering wheel.
If the system detects that the driver isn’t using it, it will issue acoustic and visual warnings, the frequency of which will vary, depending on the car’s speed and location. The driver still needs to be alert to the traffic around them and be prepared to take control of the car.
Ford argues that for many drivers, experiencing heavy traffic on the way on the way to work can leave them stressed and angry, even before the work day begins. Traffic Jam Assist helps reduce this stress.