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“Traffic Jam Assist” Could be Coming to a Ford Near You

Traffic Jam AssistThe “next big thing” in automotive technology is Traffic Jam Assist. Ford Motor Co. hopes to have this system in most of its cars in about five years. Traffic Jam Assist combines onboard radar and computers with a car’s power and steering systems. It takes control when a car is moving slowly through heavy traffic. Sensing the position and speed of vehicles around it, Traffic Jam Assist makes sure a car moves at the speed of surrounding traffic, stays safely in its lane and doesn’t rear-end the vehicle in front of it in the event of sudden stops.

The engineers behind Traffic Jam Assist believe the system will help reduce driver stress, reduce accidents, improve overall fuel economy and reduce traffic delays by an average of 20 percent. They say that only about 30 percent of vehicles need to have Traffic Jam Assist, or a system like it, to make old-fashioned bumper-to-bumper traffic jams a thing of the past.

They also see Traffic Jam Assist as one more step toward a truly “driverless car.”

What makes Ford’s introduction of Traffic Jam Assist unusual is that it is aimed at mainstream car buyers. Computer-assisted parking and driving systems have traditionally been available only on high-end luxury cars. For example, Mercedes, Cadillac, Jaguar and Audi already offer adaptive cruise control, which prevents a car from hitting a slower-moving one in front of it, as an option. But Ford hopes to make Traffic Jam Assist available fleetwide.

Ford has not announced how much Traffic Jam Assist is likely to cost.

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