Ford Advances Driver-Assist Technologies En Route to Full Autonomy

Ford Motor Company is expanding its driver-assist offerings with a range of next-generation features. The latest slew of technologies are designed to ease parking hassles, improve collision avoidance, detect objects in the road, and prevent wrong-way driving.

“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 Motor Company.

Cross-traffic alert with braking technology in development at Ford is being designed to help reduce parking stress by detecting people and objects about to pass behind the vehicle, providing a warning to the driver and then automatically braking if the driver does not respond, the company says. Rear wide-view camera, on the in-car display, will offer an alternative wide-angle view of the rear of the vehicle. Enhanced active park assist will parallel or perpendicular park at the push of a button, according to Ford.

“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,” Lindstrom said.

Other features in development at Ford of Europe’s Research and Innovation Center in 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.

“Parking is one of the most stressful experiences behind the wheel, and drivers struggling to find suitable parking spaces in urban areas can impact traffic flow,” said Dirk Gunia, supervisor, driver-assist electronics, Ford of Europe.

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These new technologies are expected to be available on Ford vehicles within two years.

“Technologies like enhanced active park assist will help drivers feel confident about parking in spaces they might otherwise consider too small,” added Gunia.

Additional technologies being developed by Ford include spot lighting technology, which uses an infrared camera to help detect pedestrians, cyclists and animals, and a camera-based advanced front lighting system widens the headlight beam at intersections and roundabouts after interpreting traffic signs.

“Camera-Based Advanced Front Lighting can help make it easier for the driver to travel at night in unfamiliar surroundings, and to more easily see unexpected hazards. At roundabouts, for example, our system helps the driver to clearly see the exits – and check if cyclists and pedestrians are crossing the road,” said Michael Koherr, research engineer, Lighting Systems, Ford of Europe. “Spot Lighting makes potential hazards in the road ahead more easily visible to the driver – whether that is a pedestrian, a cyclist, or even a large animal.”

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