Next-generation features make driving easier
Building on its industry leadership in available driver-assist technologies, Ford is expanding its offerings with a range of next-generation features designed to ease parking hassles, improve collision avoidance, detect objects in the road and prevent wrong-way driving.
On top of its existing safety features such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane departure warning with land-keeping assist, rear cross-traffic alert, driver monitoring, adaptive high-beam assist, Blind Spot Information System and advanced parking assistant, Ford has developed a number of new features.
“Driver-assist technologies help us all be better drivers because they enhance our ability to see and sense the road around us,” said Scott Lindstrom, manager, driver-assist and active safety at Ford.
Features in development at Ford of Europe’s Research and Innovation Centre in Aachen, Germany, include systems that steer around vehicles to help avoid high-speed collisions and systems that can warn drivers from traveling the wrong way against traffic.
These new technologies – expected to be available on Ford vehicles within two years – are part of the company’s commitment to triple its investment in developing driver-assist features. Evasive steering assist is a new technology that can help drivers steer around stopped or slower vehicles to help avoid collisions. Designed to operate at city and highway speeds, it uses radar and a camera to detect slower-moving and stationary vehicles ahead, and provides steering support to enable drivers to avoid a vehicle if a collision is imminent. The system is activated if there is insufficient space to avoid a collision by braking and the driver decides to take evasive action. Wrong-way alert technology uses a windscreen-mounted camera and information from the car’s navigation system to offer customers visual and audio warnings should they begin driving the wrong direction against traffic. Enhanced active park assist controls steering, gear selection, and forward and reverse movement to facilitate parking at the push of a button. It can enable a vehicle to automatically enter and exit a parallel parking space, as well as reverse into a perpendicular space. Cross-traffic alert with braking uses radar sensors to monitor the area behind the vehicle. If the driver is backing out and does not react to the initial warning, the system is designed to automatically apply the brakes. Rear wide-view camera displays a broad view from the rear of the vehicle on the in-car display, offering similar functionality to the company’s front wide-view camera currently available on some models (not in NZ). When reversing, it provides an additional view that enables drivers to see around corners, as well as obstacles and objects approaching from behind the vehicle. Additional technologies being developed by Ford include: Spot lighting technology uses an infrared camera to help detect pedestrians, cyclists and animals – highlighting these potential hazards for drivers. Camera-based advanced front lighting system widens the headlight beam at intersections and roundabouts after interpreting traffic signs. Traffic Jam Assist helps the driver keep the vehicle centreed in a lane, plus it brakes and accelerates to keep pace with the vehicle in front. Ford’s portfolio of driver-assist technology currently includes: Adaptive cruise control works to slow the vehicle when radar detects traffic slowing ahead; after traffic clears, vehicle resumes its preset speed. Forward collision warning with brake support uses radar to detect a potential collision with a car ahead; driver is alerted with visual and audio warnings. Driver Alert computes a driver’s vigilance level and displays it in the instrument cluster upon request; if the vigilance level falters, system offers visual and audio warnings. Lane departure warning with lanekeeping assist notifies drivers of an unintentional lane departure and applies steering wheel torque to keep the vehicle in its lane. Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with cross-traffic alert uses radar to detect vehicles around the car; an indicator lamp on the side-view mirrors lights when detected. When backing up, the system alerts of vehicles approaching from the sides. Active park assist uses ultrasonic sensors to measure the distance between cars to find a parking space, then helps steer the car into that space. Automatic high-beam control uses a camera to detect vehicles ahead, then automatically deactivates high beams. Hill Start Assist helps the driver start the vehicle on an uphill gradient by holding the brakes; driver moves his or her foot from the brake to the accelerator. Curve Control senses a driver taking a curve too quickly and responds by rapidly reducing engine torque, applying four-wheel braking when needed.