Video: The emergency services have by far the toughest job on our roads: they need to navigate through a minefield of traffic, at speed — and that’s before they get to the scene of whatever accident they’re attending. New Ford tech helps regular drivers know when a police car, ambulance or fire engine is coming up behind them, so they can pull over more quickly and safely and help save lives.
Victoria’s new road rules already make things a little easier for police and paramedics, with instant temporary 40km/h zones around accident zones, but the problem is that drivers — with music in their cars, and with increasingly better soundproofing against road noise — don’t know when emergency services are approaching behind them during everyday driving.
We’ve already seen this reflected in the fact that a lot of new police cars, ambulances and fire engines have bassier low-frequency sirens installed to travel a longer distance and penetrate cars’ soundproofing. Ford’s tech skips the siren entirely and alerts drivers from within the cabin — developed by the automated driving team in Europe, it relies on the emergency services sending out a message through an onboard wireless transmitter that’s then picked up by any modern Ford in a roughly 50- to 60-metre radius.
A similar use of the same tech is Ford’s Intersection Collision Warning, which will let two cars approaching a crossroads communicate seamlessly and, if both aren’t making any effort to stop, will warn drivers of a potential accident.