Remote Brake Lights Warn of Danger Before You Can See It

Ford is working on remote brake lights that wirelessly warn drivers, who see a dashboard light illuminate when there's danger ahead.

It's easy to see the brake lights of a panic-stopping car right in front of you, but what if that car ahead is around a corner, over a hill or driving through a dense fog or rainstorm? Ford is testing technology that can warn you of such danger, part of its Safe Intelligent Mobility (SIM) research project that involves 20 futuristic systems that could make cars safer.

he remote brake-light system would be particularly adept at avoiding chain reaction collisions, where a car far ahead of you comes to a sudden stop and multiple cars can't stop in time to avoid a multi-car collision. With this brake light on your dashboard, you'll be warned of panic stops before you become directly involved in their aftermath.

Car-to-car communication is a crucial link in the development of self-driving vehicles. Companies such as Google have already developed extremely smart cars that can drive themselves, but the safety of such systems will be even closer to perfection if cars can communicate their intent with each other.

Ford is not the only company working on these types of communication. For instance, Mercedes announced on Thursday that its first car-to-car communication system would launch this year. Company representatives wrote in a press release that the Mercedes technology would enhance existing smart driver-assist technologies such as adaptive cruise control, adding the ability to receive information about road conditions and accidents.

Ford's field testing of its SIM tech took place in Frankfurt, Germany, with what Ford said was 500 test drivers in 120 vehicles. According to Ford, those test subjects spent more than 41,000 hours on public roads and on a closed track testing the technology.

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