Safety First

Ford exploring the intersection of software, government to improve safety

The new Safety Insights software takes away time delays and legwork issues surrounding traffic issue solution responsiveness.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Henry Ford opened his first Canadian operation in 1904 just over the boarder from Detroit in the City of Windsor, Ontario. Today, the town is the country's first Canadian customer for Ford's Safety Insights platform. The platform, a new software tool the company is rolling out connects government workers with vehicle insights that give them an in-depth look at their city's streets without having to step outside the door of their office.

Safety Insights utilizes artificial intelligence, machine learning, and algorithms to deliver crash reduction predictions that can be explored using simulations and deep data dives without having to deploy any human resources to comb through police reports, send public works employees to sit at an intersection all day to investigate, or wait for calls from concerned citizens to come pouring in.

Ford Safety Insights software The Safety Insights software allows users to run simulations based on real traffic data.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford Safety Insights software

The data comes from Ford vehicles, simulations, and predictions that city planners and public works officials make by running simulations. The data taken from vehicles includes indicators of crash trends like harsh braking, traction control issues, and near misses. These numbers help give context to traditional crash data.

Safety Insights also integrates multi-modal traffic volume data from StreetLight Data.

Traditionally, cities use transportation data to identify traffic issues, but combing through it can be a costly and time-consuming process, according to Ford. With the combination of crash data and available simulation predictions, the Safety Insights system takes analysis and planning to the next level, allowing them to test new options for traffic flow and make more informed decisions.

Users can comb through the data, layer by layer, filtering by type of collision, including those involving pedestrians and cyclists, rear-end crashes, or rush hour collisions. The results are available in seconds rather than the days or weeks it would traditionally take.

The simulations run by the software include the impact of a crosswalk or bike line on traffic flow, or what adjusting signal timing would look like.

Ford isn't just offering Safety Insights to Canadian customers. U.S. municipalities are allowed to purchase it as well.

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Highway safety

U.S. roadway fatalities up in 2021

Ford, Microsoft team to use quantum-inspired technology to understand traffic congestion
Photo coursesy of Ford Motor Company

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has just released its estimates on traffic fatalities for the first quarter of 2021 and the numbers aren't promising. In the first quarter of this year alone, 8,730 people died in motor vehicle crashes. Last year's cumulative numbers weren't much better, coming in higher than any year since 2007.


U.S. Roadways Traffic may be going up, but fuel fill ups are down according to the latest research automotivemap.com


The grim statistics represent a 10.5 percent increase from the same time period last year, a time when we were already marveling at the numbers. Further data reported by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) indicate that the number of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) decreased by 2.1 percent, which makes the increase in fatalities all the more striking a statistic. Initial projections pegged the number of fatalities per 100 million VMT at 1.12, but it instead climbed to 1.26 fatalities per 100 million VMT.

Regionally, most areas in the United Statessaw an increase, though two did not. The Midwest region, which includes Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, and Arkansas did not change, while the mid-east coast states of North Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and West Virginia actually saw a six percent decline in fatality counts.


Highway 1 big sur Highway 1 near Big Sur includes the Bixby Creek Bridge, a famous landmark. Photo by\u00a0Getty Images


What's behind all of this? Last year, the NHTSA reported that, with fewer people on the roads, those that were driving were engaging in risky behavior. What's more, Automotive News reports, that the number of deaths involving people not wearing seatbelts increased 15 percent last year and speeding deaths climbed 10 percent.

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The Bronco will get two new colors for 2022.

Ford

The new Ford Bronco was in such high demand that buyers were in for a long wait, even before the pandemic and microchip shortages wreaked havoc on automotive supply chains and production. Even now, with little hope of a speedy vehicle delivery, buyers are still lining up to get the new SUV, and to reward those whose dreams will have to wait until 2022, Ford is debuting two new colors: Eruption Green and Hot Pepper Metallic.


2022 Ford Bronco Eruption Green and Hot Pepper Metallic will be available. Ford


Ford revealed the colors at this year's Woodward Dream Cruise. The first-generation Bronco, which ran from 1966 through 1977, was the featured vehicle at the cruise, which presented the opportunity to introduce new colors for the upcoming model year. The two new colors won't join the Bronco's existing color catalog until order banks open for the new model year later in 2021. Ford says that the current color catalog which includes Antimatter Blue, Lightning Blue Metallic, and Rapid Red Metallic will be available through the end of the 2021 model year.


2022 Ford Bronco Many Bronco buyers will have to wait until 2022 to get their new SUV.Ford


The new colors may end up being the shades of choice for many current hopeful Bronco buyers. Along with pandemic-related delays, Ford's rollout of the new Bronco has been plagued by hardtop-related cosmetic issues. The problem is big enough for the automaker to replace the top of every hardtop Bronco built so far. This includes vehicles already purchased, the rare few sitting on dealers' lots, and even recently produced vehicles still hanging around the factory. Buyers still waiting for their Broncos to be built will be waiting a while, to the point that Ford says many orders will be pushed into the new model year. Ford is offering Bronco-related merchandise and promises a price lock for all buyers whose orders have been pushed, and now it appears they'll have two new colors to choose from as well.

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