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Driver Assist Technologies

Sixty years after we set the standard with factory-installed safety belts, we still push the boundaries of safety innovation. We continue to develop new, innovative technologies to enhance vehicle safety and help customers stay safe on the road.

A World of Driver-Assist Options

We have made a wide variety of driver assist technologies available to customers, to help them drive more safely, to alert them to a potential collision and to make routine tasks easier. Many of these driver-assist features and semi-autonomous technologies use radar, sonar and cameras to sense and interpret the environment. We are now in the process of democratizing these technologies by offering them to our customers as standard equipment.

Ford Co-Pilot360 is the most advanced suite of standard driver assist technologies. It includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot monitor, a lane-keeping system, rear backup camera and auto high-beam lighting. No non-luxury competitor offers this as standard in North America.

Standard automatic emergency braking – called pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection – can help drivers avoid collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians who might accidentally cross in front of the vehicle’s path. If a potential collision is detected, a warning flashes and an alert sounds, and if the driver’s response is not sufficient, the system can automatically apply the brakes to help minimize a frontal collision. The technology addresses Ford research showing a growing trend of people worrying about hitting pedestrians, and will be standard on 91 percent of Ford vehicles in North America by 2020.

The blind spot information system, or BLIS, uses radar to identify a vehicle entering the blind spot and alerts the driver with an indicator light in the side-view mirror. Cross-traffic alert can warn drivers of traffic behind when slowly backing out of a parking spot or driveway.

The lane-keeping system has three functions. First, it can notify drivers through steering wheel vibration that they need to correct course when the system detects the vehicle drifting close to lane markings. Second, it provides steering torque to steer back toward the center of the lane. Third, a driver alert system continuously monitors driving patterns using a forward-looking camera and provides visual and audio warnings when the system estimates the driver’s vigilance level to be less than that of an attentive driver.

Our Latest Features

Ford Co-Pilot360 will roll out in key global markets starting this fall to help customers drive more safely and confidently amid rising congestion and distractions

In North America, automatic emergency braking will be standard on new passenger cars, SUVs and trucks up to F-150 going forward. Ford is also offering premium driver assist technologies, including adaptive cruise control with stop and go and lane centering, evasive steering assist and post-collision braking in North America

Adaptive cruise control with Stop and Go can maintain a set speed similar to regular cruise control, bring the vehicle to a complete stop when traffic slows and accelerate back to the preset speed when the traffic clears. Lane centering operates with adaptive cruise control Stop and Go and helps keep the vehicle centered in the lane by detecting the lane markings, using a forward-facing camera

Evasive steering assist can help drivers avoid a collision with a slower or stopped vehicle by providing appropriate steering support when the collision cannot be avoided by braking alone. The driver needs to initiate the steering maneuver for the avoidance, since the feature does not control steering

Post-collision braking applies the brakes following an impact to reduce the movement of the vehicle, mitigating the potential for secondary impacts with other traffic

In 2019, Ford is introducing reverse brake assist with automatic emergency braking to help prevent drivers from hitting an object while backing up

Our 2019 Ford Focus will have several Ford firsts (in addition to other driver assist technologies): Post Collision Breaking, Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Cross Traffic Alert with Active Breaking, Evasive Steering Assist, and Adaptive Cruise Control with Lane Centering Assist

The Foundations of an Autonomous Future

As well as improving safety today, our driver assist technologies are the building blocks for our vision of tomorrow, with autonomous vehicles operating in a fully connected transport ecosystem.

We are currently testing fully autonomous vehicles in real-world conditions, as well as implementing key semi-autonomous technologies across our entire portfolio. As outlined below, we are also conducting research with a number of public, private and academic partners to progress toward a future in which autonomous, connected vehicles communicate with one another, and with the road infrastructure, to help avoid collisions and reduce congestion.

Our Safety Research Partnerships

Technical Challenges Surrounding Automated Driving

  • Evaluating how autonomous vehicle (AV) technologies may affect real-world crash scenarios with the University of Michigan
  • Working with Purdue University to assess occupant use and sensing technologies
  • Projects with Virginia Tech to evaluate how driver assist features will affect the safety of the occupant in accident scenarios, and to assess positional issues for potential restraints and seating configurations in AVs
  • One of 28 partners in Automated Driving Applications and Technologies (AdaptIVe), Europe‚Äôs largest research project on automated driving, which finalized in June 2017. A series of other projects in this area has been established
  • Participant in the Society of Automotive Engineers Automated Driving Systems (ADS) Crashworthiness Task Force Committee

Vehicle-to-Vehicle Safety Communication Systems

  • Co-leading a group of eight automakers through the Crash Avoidance Metrics Partnership (CAMP) Vehicle Safety Communications 3 (VSC3) Consortium

Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Applications

  • Leading a separate consortium, working with the Federal Highway Administration

Cyber Security

  • Developing Automotive Cyber Security Best Practices alongside members of the Auto Alliance and Global Automakers, and in conjunction with the Auto-ISAC
  • Maintaining the industry lead for cyber security activities at the United Nations level

Driver Distraction

  • Through partnerships with universities and organizations such as the Auto Alliance, we invest a significant amount of time and resources researching driver distraction and analyzing data from large-scale naturalistic driving studies