There's nothing that automakers can do to stop traffic altogether. However, at least they can make sitting in it more tolerable.
That's exactly what Ford is thinking with its new stop-and-go technology being offered for its 2017 Fusion. According to the automaker, the technology piggybacks on current adaptive cruise control, helping drivers to experience less stress, especially while sitting in congested bumper-to-bumper traffic.
The way it works is that, once you find yourself in painful gridlock, you would activate the stop-and-go feature, which would automatically accelerate and brake on your behalf, all while keeping a safe distance from the vehicle directly ahead.
In slow traffic, Ford enables minimal driver input for the system to automatically brake itself to a stop, before resuming travel and safe following distance. The system is detailed to the point, in which drivers can even preset that speed while being stuck in traffic to make the experience even less stressful.
To test out the technology, Ford went to a couple of the most notoriously congested cities in the United States.
"When testing this system, we traveled to cities like Chicago and Los Angeles, heading straight for the worst possible congestion," Scott Lindstrom, Ford's driver-assist technologies manager, said in a company press release Monday. "It was important for us to test this system under conditions the average driver encounters every workday."
Hey, anything to help ease the aggravation of traffic, especially considering that American drivers spent 6.9 billion hours stuck in on-road congestion in 2014, according to the 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard report released by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.
In addition to offering adaptive cruise control with its boasted stop-and-go technology, the 2017 Fusion will also tout pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection among the 20 driver-assist technologies available for the model's lineup, which also includes the Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi.
Although adaptive cruise control is being offered by many automakers, Ford's specific stop-and-go feature is just the sort of extra innovation that lets it stand out among its competitors — not to mention, it should be a popular one with drivers in cities such as L.A., Chicago, New York City and Washington, D.C.