Ford is taking its first steps into autonomous vehicles, with an upcoming Traffic Jam Assist system that automatically drives your car in stop-start gridlock situations.
When the system is on, your vehicle keeps pace with the traffic flow, automatically accelerating and braking as the jam slowly slinks along the motorway. You’re free to read a newspaper, check your phone or sip on your morning coffee.
It uses a number of gizmos and gadgets that already exist in Ford cars. The Adaptive Cruise Control uses a radar to keep you a safe distance from the vehicle in front, Lane Keeping Aid uses a camera to keep you in the lines, and Active Park Assist takes care of steering.
Motorways are the perfect place to debut these systems, as there are no pedestrians, cyclists or animals, and lanes are clearly marked. The driver can override the Jam Assist at any time.
Ford is also working on an update for its Active Park Assist technology. Right now, the system can do parallel parking — where cars are parked end to end — without the driver touching the steering wheel. Soon, it will be able to do perpendicular parking — where cars line up side-by-side — as well.