Ford Motor Company has begun a four-year trial test of a fleet of intelligent vehicles in Germany under the Safe Intelligent Mobility – Testfield (simTD) project to check the practicality of the project under real-time traffic conditions.

The road test includes a fleet of 120 cars that are interconnected with each other using wireless communication systems and the latest car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communication tools.

The core objective of the simTD project, which was launched in Frankfurt, is to increase the safety of the drivers, improve personal mobility, assist drivers and avoid human driving errors using the intelligent communication systems and tools.

The approximately €53m SimTD project is being funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology together with the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

"Car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communications represent the next major advancements in vehicle safety."

Ford Research and Innovation chief technical officer and vice president Paul Mascarenas said: "Car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communications represent the next major advancements in vehicle safety."

The project would test the potential of technologies like the electronic break light, which has been mounted on the vehicles and in case of emergency break the lead vehicle will send a message to the following cars about the same.

Vehicles with the obstacle warning system will inform the fellow drivers of the presence, position and type of potential obstacles on the road.

The traffic sign assistant will access the latest traffic updates for speed limits, temporary diversions and other feeds.

Ford Research and Advanced Engineering technical expert Christian Ress said: "The vehicles will cover thousands of kilometres in test drives and evaluations to gather valuable research data from everyday driving scenarios."

The road test will also evaluate the in-car internet access to reserve and pay for parking.

The simTD project is being developed in collaboration with BMW, Volkswagen, Audi, Ford, Bosch, Daimler, Deutsche Telekom, Continental and other companies and members of German research institutions and regional infrastructure operators.

Image: An Intelligent vehicle mounted with technology is cautioning the driver. Photo: courtesy of Ford.