Ford Advancing Safety

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Ford’s great advance in safety: Whether repairing our cars, fixing potholes, or maintaining our gas and water supplies, many workers have to operate in high risk environments in order to reduce disruption to our lives. Every year, workers are injured or killed on Europe’s roads. Reflective panels can be a help, especially on long, dark winter nights. But they are reliant on the headlights of other vehicles for illumination and can be less effective when approached from around a bend. Now, Ford has come up with a bright idea.

First-of-their-kind Electronic High Visibility Panels don’t rely on other light sources to be clearly visible. The red stripes are illuminated by electricity passing through a thin layer of phosphorus gas – technology already used in aeroplane cockpits and on screens for medical and military equipment. Now available for Ford Transit and Transit Custom models, turning on the Electronic High Visibility Panels is as easy as flicking a switch behind the driver’s seat.

Simon Robinson, chief program engineer, Special Vehicle Engineering, Ford of Europe: Roadside working is a necessary and sometimes dangerous part of the job for many of our customers. We want to ensure that what is often essential work can be carried out as safely and effectively as possible. Creating panels that can be illuminated without having to rely on other sources of light was literally a ‘light bulb’ moment.

Ford trialled the panels in collaboration with Northumbrian Water Group, in the UK, enabling engineers to monitor their effectiveness in real-world scenarios and to gauge the benefits of panels that light up – even when other drivers neglect to activate their headlights. Kate Wilson, transport manager, Northumbrian Water Group: I’m delighted to see an idea that stemmed from our drivers working in partnership with Ford’s product innovation team come to life. It will improve safety not only in our sector, but in future fleets across the world, and I know that it will make our teams who work in dangerous roadside environments feel safer and much more visible to our customers.

Northumbrian Water Group are the first commercial users. Ford is also currently exploring opportunities to make Electronic High Visibility Panels available in other European countries.
We think its great too – well done Ford.

To see it in motion – Have a look at this video: https://youtu.be/LkPFkwJjbE4

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About Author

Michael Sheridan

Michael is Motorhub's Editor. Well known from TV and radio, Michael has been writing, presenting and judging cars since the mid 90's. He is a renowned Producer/Director and documentary film maker. Dozens of credits include: The Whole Way Round (Gay Byrne), The Shamrock Run (Alan Shortt), The Viking Run (Clodagh McKenna) and The Irish 66ers (David Mitchell) and The Climb for Kids (Colin Farrell). Print credits include: the RTE Guide (motoring editor 1999-2003), many national daily papers and Sundays including The Irish Times (freelance) plus other magazines. National radio credits include multiple at RTE Gerry Ryan show, the Mooney Show, The Dave Fanning Show, Drivetime etc. TV credits as a motoring expert include RTE's flagship current affairs show Primetime and TV3's Ireland AM. Michael also presented RTE's car show Drive! in the late 90s and directed some items in MPH2 on TG4. Michael contributes weekly on motoring issues to The Last Word show with Matt Cooper on Today FM. Michael has represented Ireland's motoring journalists in Motorsport at the International Mazda MX-5 endurance race series in Italy and the Arctic Ice Race. He has been a Car of the Year Judge for 20 years, more recently a judge for Van of the Year. Michael is a former Chairperson of the Association of Professional Motoring Press (APMP).

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