Technologies that will park your car by means of a key fob, from inside or outside, were demonstrated today by Ford Europe, writes Brian Byrne.
They brought to public debut technological elements which this writer was apprised of some time ago on a visit to Ford's Research and Advanced Engineering development centre in Aachen, Germany.
Today's showcase, at Ford's proving ground in Lommel, Belgium, included a Ford Focus test car equipped with prototype Fully Assisted Parking Aid system. The next-generation parking technology controls steering, gear selection and forward and reverse motion with the PowerShift transmission, to facilitate push-button parking that can even be operated by remote control.
They also showed a further development of the Traffic Jam Assist which I experienced in Aachen, as an Obstacle Avoidance technology in a Focus test vehicle which issues warnings first if it detects slow-moving objects, stationary obstacles or pedestrians in the same lane ahead. If the driver fails to steer or brake following those warnings the system will then automatically steer and brake to avoid a collision.
All good. The problem, though, is the legals. If any of this goes wrong in real life, who is responsible? It's already an iffy situation with existing automated parking systems, I think, waiting for the first case against a carmaker because the system didn't do what the driver thought it could do.
They're still suing companies because of unintended acceleration with automatic transmissions.
You can read the full Press Release after the advert.
Ford Reveals Test Cars That Can Park at the Touch of a Button and Avoid Collisions with Vehicles or Pedestrians
· Ford reveals test cars with Fully Assisted Parking Aid and Obstacle Avoidance prototype technologies at Ford Futures – a showcase of Ford’s forthcoming vehicles, features and research
· Ford is developing Fully Assisted Parking Aid to enable drivers to park at the touch of a button from inside or outside their car. Obstacle Avoidance technology uses automatic steering and braking to avoid collisions with vehicles and pedestrians
· Ford also shows S-MAX Concept, the company’s vision for a future sport activity vehicle. All-new Mondeo Vignale Concept provides a first look at the upscale Vignale experience with unique design touches, premium craftsmanship, exclusive specification and technologies
· Focus Electric, C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid and Mondeo Hybrid will offer Ford customers a full range of electrified vehicles by 2014
· Ford SYNC with AppLink will offer voice-activated apps including Spotify, TomTom and Hotels.com
Lommel, Belgium, Oct. 8, 2013 – Ford Motor Company today revealed for the first time technology developed to enable drivers to park at the touch of a button from inside or outside their car; and also a prototype system that uses automatic steering and braking to avoid collisions with vehicles or pedestrians.
Experts from Ford’s Research and Advanced Engineering organisation have harnessed advances made in existing Ford technologies Active Park Assist and Ford Powershift to deliver a Ford Focus test car equipped with prototype Fully Assisted Parking Aid system. The next-generation parking technology controls steering, gear selection and forward and reverse motion to facilitate push-button parking that can even be operated by remote control.
Ford has also revealed Obstacle Avoidance technology developed as part of a Ford-led and European-funded research project. Ford’s Obstacle Avoidance-equipped Focus test vehicle issues warnings first if it detects slow-moving objects, stationary obstacles or pedestrians in the same lane ahead. If the driver fails to steer or brake following those warnings the system will then automatically steer and brake to avoid a collision. Both technologies were today demonstrated for the first time at Ford’s test facilities in Lommel, Belgium.
“The future for Ford means developing innovative products and technologies – including Fully Assisted Parking Aid and Obstacle Avoidance – that help deliver a safer, more convenient, more desirable, more personalised and greener driving and ownership experience,” said Barb Samardzich, vice president Product Development, Ford of Europe. “Ford is focussed on making sure the vehicles, technologies and features we develop better meet changing customer expectations and values.”
Ford revealed the two new research technologies alongside forthcoming vehicles and features including:
· Ford S-MAX Concept which builds upon the current S-MAX’s style-without-compromise ethos with sleek design, premium craftsmanship, smart technologies and a more flexible interior; also features connectivity and wellness technology including the Ford ECG Heart Rate Monitoring Seat
· All-new Ford Mondeo Vignale Concept which provides a first glimpse of Ford’s vision for the unique upscale Vignale experience that is scheduled for launch in early 2015. Offers unique design touches, high quality craftsmanship, exclusive specification, advanced technologies and an exclusive purchase and ownership experience.
· Focus Electric, C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid and Mondeo Hybrid cars that will, by the end of 2014, offer customers a full range of electrified vehicles
· Ford SYNC with AppLink. Spotify, TomTom navigation and Hotels.com are among voice-activated apps which will enable drivers to stay connected on the move, and keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel
Ford’s futuring experts have identified an increasing consumer demand worldwide for “Sanity Savers” – technology and features which make life easier, and also a greater customer focus on “Ethical Consumption” as purchases tend more to reflect personal values.
“Car-buyers are placing a growing emphasis on the ownership experience, on purchases that keep them connected on the move and that also reflect their beliefs – trends that will have a profound effect on the vehicles, features and services they will choose in the future,” said Sheryl Connelly, manager, Ford Global Trends and Futuring. “Ford Futures sends a clear signal that Ford is moving in harmony with these global trends.”
Further Ford technologies on show at Ford Futures, that takes place as Ford celebrates the 100th anniversary of its moving assembly line, include:
· MyKey technology, which enables parents to place restrictions on younger drivers to promote safety
· Ford SYNC with Emergency Assistance, which can alert local emergency services operators to an accident in 26 languages, spoken in 40 European regions
· New techniques for the volume production of lightweight carbon fibre car components
“Ford Motor Company has always been one of the world’s leading pioneers and forward-thinkers,” added Samardzich. “From the introduction of a whole new way of mass producing cars 100 years ago to the advanced safety and convenience features unveiled today, we continue to set the template and define the future for drivers and the automotive environment.”