Ford has previewed its next-generation safety system, demonstrating examples of technology that can ease parking hassles, improve collision avoidance, detect objects in the road and prevent driving into oncoming traffic.
The first of Ford’s new systems takes existing the cross-traffic alert - which can warn a driver of a person or object that’s about to cross behind a reversing vehicle - and adds automatic braking to prevent a collision if the driver fails to respond.
Ford has also shown a Wrong-Way Alert system (top of page), which gathers information from navigation data and a windscreen mounted camera to detect ‘wrong way’ signs, and offers an audible alert to the driver in situations where they might about to enter a road against the flow of traffic.
Adaptive cruise control will also score an upgrade in the future to include Traffic Jam Assist, able to keep an eye on the road ahead and slow, stop, and accelerate the vehicle in concert with the flow of traffic around it, whilst keeping the vehicle centered in its own lane.
“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, Ford’s manager of driver-assist and active safety.
“Ford’s investment in research and development is paying off by accelerating innovation to expand our portfolio of driver-assist technologies that deliver functionality and performance that customers will value.”
The most impressive of those new technologies revealed by Ford is a new system called Evasive Steering Assist, capable of helping drivers steer around slow or stopped vehicles through the use of radar and camera detection.
The system will activate in situations where there is insufficient space for the autonomous braking system to avoid an impact, and the driver begins to take evasive action. Evasive Steering Assist won’t activate itself, reducing the chance of a collision with a vehicle alongside, but it will calculate the best avoidance path once the driver takes evasive action, and help steer the car along that path - preventing the driver from applying too much, or too little steering input.
Ford is also looking at ways future interpretations of the system might be able to plot their own escape path, though that technology isn’t ready yet.
Ford is yet to put a timeline on when we’ll see these new features reach production, but the roll-out of the new driver assist technology is expected to begin within the next two years.
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