Ford has created a system to help keep us safe from collisions with trains. Motor1 recently discovered a patent application that was filed in 2021, which outlines two different ways this system would work. The patent explains how sensors would be used to detect an oncoming train when you get close to a railroad crossing.
Put simply, sensors will be placed along the railroad tracks near crossings. These sensors will communicate with a vehicle’s sensors to make sure that no train is coming before allowing it to cross. That way, it can tell if a train is still crossing the tracks or has gone and won’t give an all-clear if it’s in danger.
The second plan is simpler. Cars would be outfitted with cameras and lidar to keep an eye on the bars and lights at intersections where trains are approaching, instead of placing sensors along the tracks. This helps make sure that drivers pay attention and don’t ignore these warnings.
Ford talked about how to send messages to other vehicles so drivers know when a train is coming up before they reach it. This feature, which we can compare to the vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V) that Ford said could help us get rid of traffic lights, would be really useful for emergency vehicles so they can take another route if there’s a train in their way. Ford explained this idea in more detail in the patent.
Ford is working on a special system to help car drive themselves automatically. This system can tell when the car is close to train tracks and make it stop without requiring the driver to do anything. Even though Ford has filed some patents for this technology, it is still in development and won’t be available in cars for a while.