Traffic lights that turn green for emergency vehicles in test | Technology

In emergency situations, anything that slows down the emergency vehicles of first responders (EMS, EMTs, firefighters and police) affects how quickly they can get to the scene and has serious consequences for the care of people. ‘an emergency. Experts estimate that survival rates for road accident victims can be improved by up to 40% if they are attended to four minutes faster.

Ford tested connected traffic light technology that could automatically turn green to provide smoother routes for ambulancesfire trucks and police vehicles.

This system should also help reduce the risk of accidents caused by emergency vehicles crossing red lights. In 2017, London ambulances were involved in six accidents a day and 2,265 in the year. A study showed that in Germany, 39% of ambulance accidents at intersections occurred when a traffic light was red.

Traffic could also be reduced with traffic lights sending the red-green timing information to approaching vehicles.

The trial was part of a larger project involving testing vehicles that are automated and connected to networked infrastructure on highways, urban and rural areas.

In order to test this technology, Ford used a road comprising eight consecutive traffic lights in Aachen, Germany, and two sections with three consecutive traffic lights just outside the city, all put in place by the project partners.

The Ford Kuga Plug-In Hybrid vehicle, equipped with on-board units (to communicate with infrastructure) and rapid control prototyping hardware (to run prototype software in the vehicle), served as an ambulance and passenger vehicle for the different scenarios.

To simulate an emergency response situation, the vehicle equipped with on-board units signaled traffic lights to turn green. After the vehicle equipped with on-board units passed the intersection, the traffic lights returned to normal operation.

To test everyday driving situations, the vehicle equipped with on-board units received the timing information when the traffic lights changed from red to green and from green to red.

Ford’s adaptive cruise control technology adapted the speed of the vehicle equipped with on-board units to help ensure that a greater proportion of traffic encounters a green light.

When the light turned red, the speed of the vehicle equipped with on-board units was reduced well before the junction (from 50 km/h to 30 km/h) to time the approach of the vehicle to arrive at the light when this one had to go green. For vehicles encountering a red light, the technology can also help minimize hard braking and time spent at a standstill. The vehicle equipped with on-board units received the traffic light information well before the intersection and slowed down earlier, which helped reduce traffic.

Communication between vehicles and traffic lights is made possible thanks to the C-V2X technology (Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything), a unified platform that connects vehicles to road infrastructure as well as to other vehicles and road users.

“The exchange of data between cars, emergency vehicles and traffic lights in real time using the latest mobile phone technology makes road traffic safer and more efficient”said Michael Reinartz, Director, Consumer Services and Innovation at Vodafone Germany. “Smart traffic light control helps save lives when every second counts and also reduces unnecessary waiting times and CO2 emissions.”

Ford engineers tested this system as part of the Corridor for New Mobility (ACCorD) project. The project, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Digital Affairs and Transport, is supported by RWTH Aachen University, Vodafone, the North Rhine Westphalia road authority and the city of Aachen.

The Corridor for New Mobility (ACCorD) project ran from January 2020 to March 2022.

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