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Ford Adds Active Cruise with Traffic Assist to 2017 Fusion

Sedan will add ability to come to complete stop in heavy traffic.

by on Apr.05, 2016

The 2017 Ford Fusion.

Better late than never, or so Ford has apparently decided, as it becomes the latest in a fast-growing line-up of automakers to introduce adaptive cruise control. The technology will make its first appearance on a Ford-branded model with the launch of the updated 2017 Fusion sedan.

Adaptive cruise control – also known as active cruise control – uses a variety of sensors to monitor traffic ahead of a vehicle. In its most basic form, the technology will alternatively use throttle and brakes to alternately accelerate or slow to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead. Ford will also give the 2017 Fusion the ability to come to a complete stop, if necessary.

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“When testing this system, we traveled to cities like Chicago and Los Angeles, heading straight for the worst possible congestion,” said Scott Lindstrom, Ford driver-assist technologies manager. “It was important for us to test this system under conditions the average driver encounters every workday.”


Democratizing Technology

Features once limited to luxury models increasingly commonplace in mainstream vehicles.

by on Sep.16, 2013

All 2014 Toyota Corolla models will offer energy-efficient LED headlamps, a first for the segment.

When the new 2014 Dodge Durango comes to market later this month, it will offer buyers an assortment of new safety features that include Adaptive Cruise Control, a system that quickly can bring the vehicle to a complete stop in heavy traffic, then start moving again when traffic clears.

The 2014 Chevrolet Impala has a similar system that can slam on the brakes in an emergency, helping avoid an accident the driver might not have time to react to.  Meanwhile, Toyota will make super-bright and energy-efficient LED headlamps standard on all versions of the all-new 2014 Corolla sedan.

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These and other features, such as the EyeSight system Subaru is rolling out across its model line-up, underscore a dramatic trend in the auto industry, what might best be called “the democratization of technology,” in the words of Ford Motor Co. Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields.


Subaru Models to Get “EyeSight”

Low-cost stereo camera system adds range of safety features.

by on Mar.19, 2012

Subaru's EyeSight system uses a pair of forward-looking cameras to add a variety of safety features.

Think of it as the “democratization of technology.”  Hi-tech systems routinely make their debut on luxury models and, if they prove popular, usually migrate down-market – often with mainstream manufacturers coming up with more inexpensive, but equally effective, alternatives.

So it goes with EyeSight, a camera based system that Subaru will be bringing to the States later this year.  The system uses a pair of cameras mounted on either side of the rearview mirror to look out on the road ahead.  It’s a lower-cost alternative, the maker claims, than the radar-based safety systems currently in use by luxury makers such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

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EyeSight’s stereoscopic cameras can spot obstacles – such as a pedestrian – and bring the vehicle to a complete stop from speeds up to 19 mph.  That’s similar to the CitySafety system first introduced by Volvo a few years back.

At speeds over 19 mph, the Subaru version of Pre-Collision Braking can still slow the vehicle down – often times giving the driver enough time to avoid an accident and otherwise reducing injuries and damage.

The EyeSight system adds Lane Departure warning, alerting a distracted or drowsy motorist who might inadvertently drift out of their lane without signaling.

And the new Subaru system also offers adaptive cruise control, which can adjust a vehicle’s speed to maintain a safe distance from the traffic ahead at speeds of up to 87 mph.

Subaru claims EyeSight unblinkingly watches a broader swatch of the road ahead than current radar-based systems.

There are several down sides to vision-based technologies, however.  They need a clean windshield, which means they may not operate properly if the glass is iced up on a cold winter morning.  And they are sensitive to fog, which can reduce their effectiveness, as well.

How much cheaper the EyeSight system will be remains to be seen, but expect to find out next month, Subaru promising to reveal all during the 2012 New York Auto Show.  The first cars to get the new technology will be the 2013 Legacy and Outback, though Subaru hints EyeSight will control the trickling down of technology to its lower-priced models in the future.

Highway Deaths Plunge – Creating Opportunities for Safety Suppliers

Could zero fatalities be possible?

by on Nov.10, 2009

Advanced safety technology is clearly saving lives, but still more is needed. Ford plans to launch this combination airbag and seatbelt on the 2011 Explorer.

Advanced safety technology is clearly saving lives, but still more is needed. Ford plans to launch this combination airbag and seatbelt on the next-generation 2011 Explorer.

How many highway deaths are too many?  At one point, not all that long ago, as many Americans were being killed on the roadways, each year, as died during the entire Vietnam War.  But in recent times, the figures have begun to fall, and surprisingly fast.

As recently as 2005, the figure stood at 43,000, according to government data, but if the current run rate holds, highway deaths should dip to 35,000 for all of 2009.  Yet there are those who believe even that figure can be slashed dramatically.

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The automotive supplier, Germany’s Continental, has outlined its own plan, which it dubs “Vision of Zero,” something Samir Salman, CEO of the company’s American subsidiary admits “is a vision, but we can get there.”  Not surprisingly, he sees the answer in the form of advanced safety technology – like the gear that Continental sells.