In central London average traffic speeds of around 10 mph are much the same now as they were 100 years ago – an era when horse-drawn carriages ruled the roads.
We are trying to do our bit to improve things in the city with five research experiments.
London-based pilot projects for car-sharing, parking, insurance, and a shuttle service, will test different ways of alleviating congestion in dense urban areas – and could be applied worldwide.
The experiments are:
- City Driving On-Demand – Zero-emission Focus Electric and fuel-efficient Fiesta 1.0-litre EcoBoost cars are reserved via an app or call centre. They are unlocked through a smartphone app or membership card, and can be accessed 24/7. Pricing is per minute, with fuel, insurance and the city’s Congestion Charge included.
- Data Driven Insurance – Will involve monitoring individual vehicle use with the potential to create a personalised insurance quote and reduce insurance costs. A smartphone app means you could remotely check where your vehicle is, and how much fuel is in the tank. Also could help authorities identify and address potential congestion
- Dynamic Social Shuttle – A new on-demand, pay-as-you-go, shared service designed to be more convenient than a bus, and better value than a taxi
- Painless Parking – New smartphone app service developed with a local authority that could help drivers find a parking space based on profile preferences, and real-time information
- Appy Parking – Enables drivers to view parking maps, pay city congestion charge, and find electric vehicle charging stations. App won Ford’s first Traffic Tamer App Challenge, which asked developers to submit ideas that could improve mobility in the city
The five London-based experiments are among 25 projects worldwide that were announced by Ford’s President and CEO Mark Fields at global consumer electronics and consumer technology tradeshow CES, in Las Vegas.
Revealed as the first step in our new Smart Mobility Plan, the experiments are designed to help address four global megatrends – explosive population growth, an expanding middle class, air quality and public health concerns, and changing customer attitudes and priorities.
“We are driving innovation in every part of our business to be both a product and mobility company – and, ultimately, to change the way the world moves just as our founder Henry Ford did 111 years ago,” Fields said.
Another of the experiments, the Ford Carsharing programme in Germany has already expanded to include 55 German cities and more than 100 locations in its first 12 months.
The road ahead
Ford’s semi-autonomous vehicle features available today include lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection and active park assist, Traffic Sign Recognition, rearview camera, auto high beams and rain-sensing wipers – with Traffic Jam Assist coming.
“Our priority is in making the first Ford autonomous vehicle accessible to the masses and truly enhancing customers’ lives,” Fields said.
“Henry Ford taught us long ago that a good business makes excellent products and earns a healthy return,” Fields added. “A great business does all that while creating a better world. That is what continues to drive us each day.”