Mike Stevens | Feb 11, 2009

While we try to figure out what sort of balloon can justify a AUD$15,000 price tag, Ford is trying not to hit them.

Intended to help the company test its crash avoidance system – the new Adaptive Cruise Control with Collision Warning with Brake Support – the car-shaped balloons do little more than simply sit still. This allows the drivers to test the avoidance system’s ability to alert them with enough time to stop the car, without putting panels (and drivers' limbs) at risk.

Getting it wrong simply punts the balloon across the tarmac. Smart thinking.


The Adaptive Cruise Control with Collision Warning with Brake Support (let’s try not to say that one again) works by continuously scanning the area in front of the vehicle, and if it senses a collision is imminent, it will warn the driver. If the driver’s busy staring off into space and doesn’t react in time, the system will begin to apply the brakes to compensate.


As for the testing, why balloons? Simply because the cost of the balloons – even ones as expensive as these – is far cheaper than the number of cars they’d go through every time the system fails.

Unlike 'real' cars, the balloons can be re-used no matter how many times they’re impacted.

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Filed under crash testing News ford