Cars that can see round corners?
Ford Motor Company has been hard at work developing a technology that could assist drivers in seeing what’s around corners – that could mean cyclists.
Blind junctions can be a nerve-wracking experience for drivers who rely on slowly inching forward into traffic, while straining to see and hear other vehicles.
To reduce stress, and potentially help avert collisions – we are now introducing a new camera technology that can see around corners, even when drivers cannot.
Available as an option on some of its UK based vehicles, the Front Split View Camera displays to the driver a 180-degree view from the front of the car, using a video camera in the grille. At a blind junction or exiting a driveway, the camera enables drivers to easily spot approaching vehicles, pedestrians or cyclists.
Drivers simply push a button to see the view from a 1-megapixel camera in the front grille for a real-time view – both left and right – on the 8-inch colour touchscreen. Drivers can track road users that approach on either side and pass in front of the vehicle. A jet-washer automatically clears the camera when the windscreen wipers are activated.
“We have all been there and it’s not just blind junctions that can be stressful, sometimes an overhanging tree, or bushes can be the problem,” said engineer Ronny Hause who worked on the project. “For some, simply driving off their own driveways is a challenge. This is one of those technologies that people will soon wonder how they managed without.”
“Pulling out at a blind junction can be a tricky manoeuvre for new and experienced drivers alike. The best approach has traditionally been to simply lean forward to get the best view whilst creeping forwards with the windows wound down to listen for approaching vehicles, but cyclists are a particular risk as they can’t be heard,” said Keith Freeman, a training manager at Ford Driving Skills For Life Program.
“This technology will certainly make emerging from anywhere with a restricted view so much safer and the experience less nerve-wracking for those behind the wheel,” Freeman added.
Ford hopes to offer this technology to more of its vehicles and other countries over the coming model years.
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