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Ford testing intelligent cars on China's roads

By Li Fusheng | China Daily | Updated: 2020-07-13 09:56
The technology Ford tests can suggest an appropriate speed so that the drivers don't have to wait at traffic lights. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Ford Motor Co is testing vehicle-to-infrastructure functions in Changsha, capital of Central China's Hunan province, as part of efforts to launch its first intelligent car in the country in 2021.

The tests are being conducted along a 100-kilometer expressway and on public roads in a 100 square km zone, said Ford China in a statement last week.

The company said C-V2X technology, which stands for cellular-vehicle-to-everything, can help make streets safer.

Vehicles will be able to "talk "and "listen" to one other, observe pedestrians, cyclists and traffic lights. The technology will support the development of autonomous driving.

For instance, Ford's SYNC+, the in-vehicle infotainment system, gives both visual and audio notifications about traffic lights, speed limits, dangerous intersections and other road information.

It can even recommend an appropriate driving speed so that drivers can avoid waiting for green lights and are alerted to potential red-light violations.

"C-V2X will enable vehicles to receive updates about potential traffic developments and risks that are beyond the range of what sensors can pick up," said Robert Hou, Ford China's vice-president responsible for information technology, mobility platforms and products.

"Our testing project in Changsha is designed to help Ford accelerate C-V2X technology implementation in China and verify how the applications could effectively support the city's intelligent transportation systems," said Hou.

The functions tested in Changsha are expected to be made available to a select group of Ford owners later this year via over-the-air updates, said the company.

The group's feedback will be used to improve the functions as the company prepares for production of the first C-V2X equipped vehicle in China in 2021.

This commitment is part of Ford's drive to accelerate the commercial deployment of C-V2X technology. Ford also plans to deploy C-V2X technology in all new Ford models in the United States beginning in 2022.

Ford began testing such functions in China in late 2017, when it kicked off its first C-V2X technology trial in China at the National Intelligent Vehicle Pilot Zone in Shanghai.

In May 2018, it conducted technical tests as part of a LTE-V2X pilot project in Wuxi, Jiangsu province. It was the world's first city-level project of its kind performed on public roads.

LTE-V2X, along with the evolution from 4G to 5G, is the first phase of C-V2X technology.

In November 2018, Ford participated in a live demonstration in Shanghai, which marked the world's first three-layered interoperability of C-V2X technology.

It was the first time different brands and solutions could communicate through the same language, not only maximizing the benefits for Ford C-V2X-equipped vehicles but also building a better overall C-V2X environment.

The company said with China's fast 5G development and Ford's own rapid progress in C-V2X, customers in China will be the first to receive the benefits of this smart technology, which will help make local streets safer and less congested.

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