With simTD technologies, cars can receive warnings from other cars, even when they don’t see them (Photo: Ford)

A major field test of connected car technologies started Monday in and around Frankfurt, with 120 vehicles embarking on a four-year trial of intelligent communication systems.

The aim of the test, which is part of simTD or "Safe Intelligent Mobility - Testfield Germany," is to see how connected cars can improve traffic safety and mobility.

“Car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communications represent the next major advancements in vehicle safety,” said Paul Mascarenas, chief technical officer at Ford Motor, which is contributing 20 specially equipped S-MAX models to the project.

Among the technologies that will be tested are electronic brake lights that warn following vehicles even if they are out of sight; a new obstacle warning system; a traffic sign assistant that relays up-to-date information; a public traffic management technology that identifies various likely traffic scenarios; and a new in-car internet access system.

SimTD project manager Christian Weiss believes the early-warning technologies will make driving safer, more comfortable and more efficient.Said Weiss: "As drivers get better information, they will be able to adjust their driving mode earlier. Accidents and traffic jams will be avoided."

The simTD project is supported by the German government and the country's automotive industry. Several German universities and research institutes also participate.

The project has total funding of about €53 million.Further information on simTD can be found at