Ford Wants to Keep You From Running Over Pedestrians
More precisely, Ford wants to keep you from running over pedestrians that are submerged on their smartphones while walking; or “petextrians,” as Ford calls them.
Laugh all you want at the fact that an automotive manufacturer has to worry about keeping pedestrians safe, or the fact that they’ve invented a new name for today’s text-crazy humans, but it’s a real problem. Oh, and it’s only getting worse.
If you live in a small town, chances are you’re not exposed to this, but large cities such as New York, LA, and others around the world are tackling the increasing problem of “petextrians” and distracted walking. A theme park in Chongqing, China, painted smartphone lanes on 30 meters of sidewalk in an effort to combat the problem. Pedestrians crossing the tram tracks in Augsburg, Germany, are now warned by a strip of blinking red LED lights mounted on the ground. Of course, in America, we typically combat problems by banning things (as if that would help), which is why the tiny town of Rexburg, Idaho, took a different approach, passing a law in 2011 against texting while crossing the street and slapping a $50 fine on anyone who does.
While Ford’s new Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection is only avialable in the 2017 Ford Fusion, it will slowly-but-surely make its way to SUVs and trucks. These systems can predict the movement of pedestrians to help reduce the severity of and, in some cases, eliminate frontal collisions altogether.
Being a father of a teenager and a toddler, I can certainly agree that “petextrians” will be an ever-growing problem in the future, and therefore think this technology isn’t as silly as it sounds. It may actually be invaluable in decades to come.
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