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Ford works on autonomous tech to reduce driver stress in traffic jams

The Traffic Jam Assist function assists the driver keeping the vehicle centred in the lane and brakes and accelerates to keep pace with the vehicle in front of it.

The technology uses cameras and radar tech to monitor cars ahead and lane markings and is part of a range of semi-autonomous driver assistance systems that Ford is developing.

Traffic Jam Assist, activated at the push of a button when a traffic jam is encountered, identifies the position of vehicles in front using a grille-mounted radar; and the location of lane markings using a front-facing camera behind the windscreen.

The driver can take over at any time by using the pedals, the steering wheel or the indicators. The system also regularly monitors the driver’s interaction with the steering wheel. If the system detects a lack of steering interaction, it will issue acoustic and visual warnings. Depending upon the vehicle speed and location, the frequency of warnings will vary. The driver is still required to monitor the driving environment and to be prepared to take control of the vehicle at any time.

“For many drivers, experiencing heavy traffic on the way to work can leave them stressed and angry, even before the work day begins. Traffic Jam Assist helps the driver maintain the distance to the vehicle ahead and helps to keep the vehicle centred in the lane. The system aims to reduce driver stress in dense,” said Reid Steiger, technical expert, Automated Driving, Ford of Europe.

The new system is based on two technologies that are also in development, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go and Lane Centering Aid.

Other Ford autonomous technologies in development include Remote Park Assist, which enable drivers to park perpendicularly in narrow garages and crowded underground parking garages without being in the vehicle.

In addition, Ford’s Fully Assisted Parking Aid provides next-generation parking technology and controls steering, gear selection and forward and reverse motion to facilitate push-button parking.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.