Ford Puts “Brake Light” In Your Dashboard

Sections: Car Safety

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2003 Ford Taurus Telematics and Safety Concept Car CHMSL

Ford’s brake light technology was somewhat ahead of its time on the 2003 Ford Taurus Telematics and Safety Concept Car, in which a rear collision warning system used a rear-facing camera which functioned as a backup aid as well as a precrash sensor. The vehicle would strobe the high mount brake light to help mitigate the accident by getting the other driver’s attention. Now imagine if that Taurus had been able to also flash a warning light on the approaching driver’s dash– even better, right? Ford thinks so. (Photo courtesy Ford Motor Company.)

Ford engineered a new feature designed to improve highway safety: a brake light in your dashboard. And no, we’re not talking about the parking brake warning light, either.

According to the press release from Ford, the experimental feature known simply as the “Electronic Brake Light” will warn drivers when a vehicle ahead gets on the brakes by illuminating a light in the dashboard display of following cars. A study of the technology’s effectiveness reportedly “found the technology could enable drivers following behind to brake earlier and potentially mitigate or avoid a collision,” the release said.

The Electronic Brake Light is one of 20 technologies Ford tested as part of its participation in a study called Safe Intelligent Mobility– Testfield Germany, or simTD for short. The simTD field tests reportedly took place in the Frankfurt region and involved some 500 test drivers in 120 test vehicles. The testers logged more than 41,000 hours and 1.6 million kilometers split between time spent on public roads and closed-course test facilities, the release said.

Ford Chief Technical Officer Paul Mascarenas said, “Car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communications represent one of the next major advancements in vehicle safety. Ford is committed to further real-world testing here and around the world with the goal of implementation in the foreseeable future.”

Ford said it used specially equipped S-Max models to test the brake light technology along with a host of others focused on safety:

Obstacle Warning system, which alerts to the presence, position and type of potentially hazardous objects in the road.

Traffic Sign Assistant, which remains in contact with traffic management centres for up-to-date information.

Public Traffic Management, which provides exact traffic prognosis based on comprehensive information; this includes identifying likely traffic scenarios and their impact at the point in the journey when they are encountered rather than at the point of departure.

In-car Internet Access, which, for example enables the driver to receive information about free parking spaces or check traffic hotspots by receiving up-to-date pictures from traffic cameras.

More information about simTD can be found at

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