Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ford Fusion To Bring Active Safety Technology To The Masses

Ford Fusion To Bring Active Safety Technology To The Masses:

Ford has announced that the upcoming 2013 Fusion will offer an available suite of driver assistance technology, like adaptive cruise control, active park assist and collision warning.
While active safety features have increasingly been offered on luxury cars over the past five years, the Fusion marks the first time such systems have been available in a moderately priced, midsize family sedan. Currently, the full-size Taurus sedan and Explorer SUV are the most affordable cars in Ford’s lineup to offer such provisions.
“The new Fusion is a showcase of how we will use sensors and vehicle data to enhance the driver’s own capabilities when behind the wheel,” said Paul Mascarenas, Ford’s Chief Technology Officer. “Driver assist technologies will continue to provide increasing levels of convenience in the near-term. In the future, they also will help us manage issues such as traffic congestion and CO2 reduction.”
Among the technologies on board: Driver Alert, which uses a camera pointed at the road to detect patterns of motion that are consistent with drowsy driving. If it senses that you’re falling asleep, it’ll trigger a “series of alerts” including a coffee cup icon on the dash, all intended to get you to pull over and take a break. Unfortunately, no actual coffee is dispensed, and it also won’t let your boss know you’re going to be late for work because you stopped for a nap.
Additionally, there’s the whole suite of active safety systems that have become familiar across the Ford lineup, some of which were developed by Volvo during Ford’s ownership. There’s BLIS, the blind spot warning system with cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control with a collision warning feature. Pull-drift assist adjusts the power steering to counter the effects of crosswinds. Also on board: active parking assist, which takes care of the steering during parallel parking and — just in case your spouse isn’t there to do it for you — lets you know when to hit the gas and the brake.
We’ve tested out most of these features on other Ford products and found them to be of varying levels of usefulness. BLIS is no substitute for properly adjusted mirrors, though it’s a helpful shortcut when quickly contemplating a lane change. And with new vehicle designs reducing driver visibility, back-up cameras and parking assist systems have become almost indispensable. The great hope for active cruise control is that it will help “smooth out” steady traffic flows, helping to reduce the backups caused by excessive braking and acceleration in traffic.
So far, Ford hasn’t announced any pricing details about the 2013 Fusion, but we expect the driver assist options to add quite a bit of heft to the base MSRP. On the 2013 Explorer Limited, driver assist tech is bundled with rain-sensing wipers and HID headlamps and costs an additional $6,595.
Image: Ford

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