Traffic lights and stop signs can be a real bugbear, particularly if you’re in haulage work and most of your days are spent on the road. In fact, research has revealed that the average driver spends about two days per year waiting at traffic lights (and hauliers aren’t even your average drivers). As well as being a huge time-waster for haulage companies, frequently stopping and starting can also increase fuel consumption, so that wastes money as well.
The good news is that traffic lights could soon be a thing of the past, according to Ford. The company has been experimenting with new technologies working towards autonomous vehicles, and has been trialling something that could revolutionise the transport industry…
An Exciting New System
Ford has recently been testing a new Priority Management System in Milton Keynes. The technology allows vehicles to share information with each other – hopefully bringing an end to stop-start driving. Vehicles will be more ‘aware’ of their surroundings, allowing much more cooperative and safer road use. Being able to monitor speeds and routes as well as anticipate collisions will massively increase driving efficiency, consequently saving time and money for anyone in the haulage work industry.
Using vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication will mean that cars, lorries and vans can coordinate with one another easily. For example, optimum speeds will be suggested by the system when passing other cars, allowing safer junction crossings. The technology used during the recent tests broadcast the vehicles speed, direction of travel and location, but manufacturers are hopeful that the system will continue to advance even further.
Potential Advancements, Brighter Futures
As this idea continues to be evolve it is becoming more and more realistic that traffic lights could eventually be unnecessary. If all vehicles were fitted with the system, passing through junctions would be so well-coordinated that there would be no reason that any car or lorry would need to stop. One day, even road signs could be abolished!
There are various other exciting technologies that have been brought to the table that could be the stepping stones leading to a stop-free future. One of these is GLOSA (Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory). The system works by helping cars synchronise with nearby traffic lights, in order to pass through them without having to brake. There is also an Intersection Collision Warning technology, which alerts drivers of possible accidents as they approach a junction. Emergency Vehicle Warning and Collaborative Parking also make use of telematics to aid drivers, and may soon be introduced to the transport industry.
While telematics have been used in haulage work for several years, these new advancements could significantly change the transport industry for the better. Soon, we’ll be saying goodbye traffic lights, and hello to safer roads, lower fuel consumption and more efficient transport.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage work with available drivers. Over 5,400 member companies are networked together through the Exchange to fill empty capacity, get new clients and form long-lasting business relationships.