Ford and Qualcomm to tackle traffic with connected vehicles

  • Ford and Qualcomm will partner to develop connected vehicle technology to ease congestion.
  • It is part of CEO Jim Hackett's plan to reposition Ford as a mobility company.
Ford Motor Company President and CEO Jim Hackett speaks during a keynote address during CES 2018 in Las Vegas on January 9, 2018.
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images
Ford Motor Company President and CEO Jim Hackett speaks during a keynote address during CES 2018 in Las Vegas on January 9, 2018.

Ford is partnering with Qualcomm to develop technology to connect cars to each other and to the world around them in the hope of easing congestion and adding other services for passengers.

Ford said Tuesday it wants to equip all of its cars with C-V2X — which stands for cellular vehicle-to-everything — technology. Connecting cars to each other and to other devices, such as stoplights, can improve traffic flow in dense areas by coordinating the movement of vehicles.

"At its most basic level C-V2X is a two-way conversation," said Don Butler, Ford's executive director of connected vehicle and services, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Tuesday. He added that the data collected from these simple interactions can be used to manage complex transportation systems.

Connected cars could be rerouted around cities to avoid traffic jams, barriers or accidents, for example. They could detect that a driver or passenger is in distress, and take the appropriate action, Butler said. They could also receive signals from a hidden pedestrian's mobile phone in order to avoid a collision.

The cellular industry is already investing billions of dollars in 5G cellular technology, which will enable connected-vehicle technology. Butler said.

Ford already has 700,000 connected cars on the road and wants every new car to be connected by 2019, he said.

CEO Jim Hackett, in a speech at CES on Tuesday, laid out Ford's plans for seizing new opportunities in transportation and meeting the challenges posed by tech firms.