Ford’s im­mi­nent hatch gets unique night vi­sion

Herald Sun - Motoring - - NEWS - JOSHUA DOWL­ING

Ford has un­veiled a small car that can see around cor­ners at night — even be­fore it gets to them.

Un­like other cars that rely on steer­ing to change the beam of the head­lights, the world first tech­nol­ogy on the new Fo­cus uses cam­eras in the wind­screen to scan the road ahead to de­tect cor­ners and round­abouts up to 65 me­tres away. At night the car will ad­just the head­lights to en­hance driv­ers’ vi­sion in turns with­out daz­zling on­com­ing traf­fic.

Ford says the cam­era uses lane mark­ings and roads signs to “pre-ad­just head­lamp pat­terns for im­proved vis­i­bil­ity by mon­i­tor­ing bends in the road and — for the first time in the in­dus­try — road signs”.

The tech­nol­ogy does not end there. The new Fo­cus — due in Aus­tralia late this year and rev­ert­ing to Ger­man rather than Thai man­u­fac­ture — also will pre­vent driv­ers from ac­ci­den­tally driv­ing the wrong way on a free­way.

The “Wrong Way Alert” uses a wind­screen mounted cam­era and in­for­ma­tion from the car’s nav­i­ga­tion to pro­vide driv­ers with “au­di­ble and visual warn­ings when driv­ing through two ‘No En­try’ signs on a mo­tor­way ramp”.

It will be avail­able ini­tially in Germany, Aus­tria and Switzer­land but other coun­tries are set to fol­low.

In Fo­cus au­to­matic ver­sions, the hum­ble gear shift lever has been re­placed by a ro­tary dial, as in the lat­est Jaguars and Land Rovers.

The Fo­cus will have im­proved “lane cen­tring tech­nol­ogy” when the car is driven in semi­au­tonomous mode, with radar cruise con­trol.

In top-end ver­sions, driv­ers won’t need to touch the ped­als in the daily grind. Ford says the lat­est gen­er­a­tion of its “stop and go” tech will bring the Fo­cus to a com­plete halt in stop­start traf­fic — and au­to­mat­i­cally pull away — if stopped for less than three sec­onds.

If the halt is longer, the driver pushes a but­ton on the steer­ing wheel or gen­tly ap­plies the ac­cel­er­a­tor to pull away.

Euro­pean ver­sions will be avail­able with speed sign recog­ni­tion tech that de­tects signs rather than re­ly­ing solely on nav­i­ga­tion data — which can be­come quickly out of date and does not ac­count for road works zones. The tech is yet to be con­firmed for Aus­tralia. An­other claimed first is the “glare-free” high-beam that il­lu­mi­nates the road ahead with­out daz­zling other driv­ers while the lat­est­gen­er­a­tion au­tonomous emer­gency brak­ing can de­tect cy­clists and pedes­tri­ans, as well as stopped traf­fic.

Fi­nal de­tails of the line-up will be re­vealed closer to the on-sale date in Novem­ber.

A range of new en­gines is avail­able in Europe. Aus­tralia-bound mod­els are set for a big change un­der the bon­net, with a pair of 1.5litre three-cylin­ders re­plac­ing fours.

The base en­gine is matched to a six-speed auto. Dearer grades will come with a turbo triple matched to an eight-speed auto.

Ford also un­veiled the sporty “ST-Line” as the suc­ces­sor to its ST hot hatch, due in show­rooms at least 12 months af­ter the main­stream Fo­cus range.

In Europe, Ford will sell an off-road style ver­sion as a ri­val for the Subaru XV, al­though it has not been con­firmed for Aus­tralia.

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