FORD MAKES PARALLEL PARKING A BREEZE WITH NEW ACTIVE PARK ASSIST
Active Park Assist
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- Active park assist helps drivers parallel park with the touch of a button and without ever touching the steering wheel
- Active park assist uses ultrasonic-based sensing system and electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) to steer the vehicle into a parking spot – EPAS also improves fuel economy up to
5 percent, while reducing CO2 emissions and enhancing performance, compared with traditional steering
- Launched in mid-2009, the innovative technology is available very affordably on the Ford Focus, Explorer, Escape, Flex, Lincoln MKS and Lincoln MKT
WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 26, 2011 – The often stressful and frustrating task of parallel parking can now be as easy as pressing a button, thanks to an exclusive technology from Ford called active park assist.
The innovative technology – an affordable option on the Ford Focus, Explorer, Escape, Flex, Lincoln MKS and Lincoln MKT – uses an ultrasonic-based sensing system and electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) to position the vehicle for parallel parking, calculate the optimal steering angle and quickly steer the vehicle into a parking spot.
“With the touch of a button, drivers can parallel park quickly, easily and safely without ever touching the steering wheel,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president of Global Product Development. “This is another example of exclusive Ford technology that makes the driving experience easier and more enjoyable for customers.”
Active park assist uses sensors on the front and rear of the vehicle to guide the vehicle into a parking space. The technology is a major leap forward in speed and ease of use compared with the camera-reliant systems offered by competitors, including a video camera-based system offered by Lexus. Ford’s system requires less driver interface and reduces the risk of selecting a parking spot that is too tight. Ford’s active park assist also works in downhill parking situations, unlike competing systems.
How active park assist works:
- The driver activates the system by pressing an instrument panel button, which activates the ultrasonic sensors to measure and identify a feasible parallel parking space
- The system then prompts the driver to accept the system assistance to park
- The steering system then takes over and steers the car into the parking space hands-free. The driver still shifts the transmission and operates the gas and brake pedals
- A visual and/or audible driver interface advises the driver about the proximity of other cars, objects and people and provides instructions
- While the steering is all done automatically, the driver remains responsible for safe parking and can interrupt the system by grasping the steering wheel
Active park assist is enabled by Ford’s advanced EPAS technology. In addition to helping with parallel parking, EPAS improves fuel economy up to 5 percent, while reducing CO2 emissions and enhancing steering performance compared with traditional hydraulic power-assisted steering systems. EPAS saves fuel primarily because the steering system is powered by an electric motor connected to the vehicle’s battery, as opposed to engine-mounted hydraulic pump steering systems.
By 2012, Ford plans to fit nearly 90 percent of the Ford and Lincoln lineup with EPAS.
“As we use advanced technology to improve the fuel efficiency across our vehicle lineup, we have the opportunity to introduce new comfort and convenience innovations like active park assist,” said Ali Jammoul, Ford’s chief engineer for chassis engineering and steering systems. “This is technology not for the sake of technology, but one designed to meet the needs and wants of customers.”
As Ford introduces EPAS in more vehicles, it will be able to offer active park assist in more models as well. In addition, Ford is working on using EPAS and other sensors for other smart technologies, including one that could prevent a vehicle from drifting out of its lane on the highway.
Active park assist works in tandem with other technologies, including Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®) and cross-traffic alert. BLIS employs a sensor on the outboard rear quarter panel that monitors the traditional blind spot area, and can notify the driver with a warning indicator light in the corresponding sideview mirror if the sensors in this optional system detect a vehicle in the blind spot. Cross-traffic alert uses BLIS sensors to help detect cross traffic when backing out of a parking space.
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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 163,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com.