Few mistakes have consequences as terrifying as turning on to a motorway in the wrong direction. To help prevent every driver’s worst nightmare, Ford has introduced Wrong Way Alert technology for the all-new Focus.
Wrong-way crashes are likely to result in serious injuries and fatalities because the speeds of both cars are combined on impact. In Germany, in 2017 alone, 22 people were killed in accidents involving wrong-way drivers on motorways and federal highways.
“These 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,” said Jan Guesten, development engineer, Driver Assistance Technologies, Ford of Europe.
Wrong Way Alert builds on Ford’s existing Traffic Sign Recognition technology, that uses GPS information from the onboard navigation system to identify the car’s location and a forward-facing, windscreen-mounted camera to detect important signs such as speed limits and displays them to the driver on the dashboard or Head-up display.
In situations where a driver passes two “no entry” signs on either side of a slip road on to a motorway or dual carriageway, Wrong Way Alert sounds a warning and displays to the driver a red “no entry” symbol as well as a message to “check driving direction”.
Ford tested the technology, which is initially available to customers in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, on the company’s test track in Lommel, Belgium, using “no entry” signs erected on the slip 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.
Wrong Way Alert is one of a range of advanced, confidence-inspiring technologies offered for the Focus, including features that enable it to automatically brake if the car detects a potential collision with pedestrians or bicycles, or help drivers take evasive action to avoid obstacles ahead. A rear camera provides a 180-degree view for reversing from parking spaces or driveways.