Ford of Europe introduces technology to its new Focus to protect occupants from wrong-way drivers.
Wrong Way Alert warns drivers before they drive onto an opposing lane of traffic.
In Germany alone, 22 people were killed last year in accidents caused by wrong-way drivers on major highways.
The wrong-way drivers are known as geisterfahrer in Germany, spookrijder in the Netherlands and conducteur fantome in France – all translating as ghost driver. German radio stations interrupted programs 2,200 times in 2016 to issue geisterfahrer warnings.
Jan Guesten, Ford of Europe driver-assistance-technologies development engineer, says wrong-way accidents can be devastating.
“Drivers who are tired, confused by poor road signs or driving in bad weather can take the wrong turn, only to find they have put themselves and other people on the motorway in real danger,” Guesten says in a statement.
Wrong Way Alert builds on Ford’s existing Traffic Sign Recognition technology, using GPS information from the onboard navigation system to identify the car’s location and a forward-facing, windshield-mounted camera to detect important signs such as speed limits and displays them to the driver on the dashboard or head-up screen.
In situations where a driver passes two “no entry” signs on either side of an access road to a highway, Wrong Way Alert sounds a warning and displays to the driver a red “no entry” symbol as well as a message to check driving directions.
Ford tested the technology, which is initially available in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, on its test track in Lommel, Belgium, using “no entry” signs erected on the access roads.
To test a wider variety of junctions, the system's camera was mounted in front of a computer monitor displaying a virtual driving environment created using real-world GPS data.