New technology which could make traffic lights automatically go green for emergency vehicles is being trialled.

The connected traffic light technology by Ford could offer clearer routes for ambulances, fire engines and police vehicles and help reduce the risk of an accident caused by first responders driving through red lights.

“Whether it’s a fire engine attending a blaze or an ambulance that is en route to an accident, the last thing anyone wants is for these drivers to be caught up among other vehicles waiting for the lights to change,” said Martin Sommer, research engineer, Automated Driving Europe, Ford of Europe.

The trial took place in Germany using a road with eight consecutive traffic and two stretches with three consecutive traffic lights. A Ford Kuga plug-in Hybrid test vehicle with on-board units – for communicating with the infrastructure – acted as an ambulance in the test scenarios.

The vehicle signalled to the traffic lights to turn the light green. Once the vehicle passed through the junction, the traffic lights returned to standard operation.

The trial was part of a broader project that involved testing automated and connected vehicles and networked infrastructure in highway, urban and rural areas.