Ford Patents Motorcycle Lane-Splitting Safety Tech

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Ford Patents

Using rear-facing cameras and existing active-safety tech, Ford aims to reduce accidents in an ingenious way.

Safety technology is expanding at a rapid pace in recent years, most of it coming from a variety of sensors and cameras. These systems aim to reduce the number of accidents by first detecting when an accident might happen, then taking steps to avoid it. We’ve already got things like blind-spot detection and emergency braking in use in today’s Ford trucks. But now, Ford is taking the next logical step – patenting technology that aims to detect lane-splitting motorcyclists.

Lane-splitting is only technically legal in California at the moment, and possibly for good reason. While it helps reduce traffic congestion and encourages motorists to use more efficient two-wheeled transportation, it’s also dangerous. Ford’s recent patent filing aims to prevent lane-splitting crashes from happening by using cameras and sensors to detect motorcyclists and even make the vehicle intervene to avoid them if necessary.

According to the patent filing, the system is more of an evolution of existing active safety features. Which means it won’t be difficult to roll out. Rear-facing cameras would detect the presence of a lane-splitting motorcyclist, issuing a warning to the driver similar to current blind-spot detection systems. If needed,  automatic braking or steering could then be activated to avoid a crash.

It’s a simple yet ingenious way to save lives and reduce accidents. And it also solves the problem self-driving cars have detecting smaller objects like bicycles and motorcycles. Of course, opinions on lane-splitting vary greatly. But it’s hard to argue with any measure that makes our roadways safer. And as always, it appears that Ford is ahead of the curve when it comes to doing just that.

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Brett Foote is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other sites.

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