- Ford is introducing Ford Co-Pilot360™, a suite of advanced driver-assist technologies that includes Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection and Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go and Lane Centering, to help customers drive more safely and confidently on congested roads across Asia Pacific
- Ford will introduce advanced automated technologies as early as this year, and starting 2019, most of new globally developed Ford products sold in majority of Asia Pacific markets will get these automated technologies
- Ford is focused on simplifying the driver-assist technology experience to help build trust and confidence in using the features today in order to prepare for autonomous vehicles in the future
- Ford has been testing advanced driver-assist technologies under simulated traffic conditions in China at the Shanghai International Automobile City, with the aim of developing new advancements to improve traffic flow and reduce stress for drivers in China and elsewhere
SHANGHAI, March 16, 2018 – Ford Motor Company is launching Ford Co-Pilot360™, a suite of advanced driver-assist technologies that aim to help people more safely and confidently face congested roads – today and tomorrow.
Most new globally developed Ford products sold in the majority of Asia Pacific markets will get these driver-assist technologies featured in Ford Co-Pilot360™ from 2019.
According to Ford’s 2016 Smart Commute survey, 36 percent of drivers in Asia Pacific find their daily commute inconvenient, citing reasons such as traffic congestion and difficulty finding parking spaces. A further 23 percent of drivers indicate that their commute is the worst part of their day.
“Though our vehicles today are safer than ever, drivers tell us they are still stressed about getting in a potential accident,” said Jim Farley, Ford president, Global Markets. “That’s one reason why we’re making these Ford Co-Pilot360™ driver-assist technologies more widely available.”
Ford Co-Pilot360™ includes automatic emergency braking (AEB), called Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, which is designed to reduce the severity of and, in some cases, even eliminate frontal collisions involving slowing or stationary vehicles, as well as pedestrians. This is a particularly acute issue in China where traffic accidents claim around 260,000 lives a year, according to the World Health Organization. Working across a range of speeds, the Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection technology scans the road and pavement ahead for vehicles or people in front of the car, and can automatically apply the brakes if it detects an imminent collision and the driver does not respond to initial warnings.
“People generally are more distracted, whether they are walking or driving, especially in busy and congested Asian cities,” said Trevor Worthington, vice president, Product Development, Ford Asia Pacific. “This creates tension on the road as drivers try to anticipate what will happen next. Our automated technologies are designed to help reduce stressful situations, such as when someone walks into the middle of the road while texting. Over time, we believe these technologies will make driving even safer and more enjoyable.”
Another driver-assist technology to be included in Ford Co-Pilot360™ is Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go combined with Lane Centering Assist. When engaged, the system is able to take over the throttle, steering and braking of the vehicle, and lets the vehicle cruise at a set speed, maintain a safe following distance and remain in the center of the lane. The driver is still required to maintain their hands on the steering wheel; otherwise they will be alerted with an audible warning reminder.
Trust in Tech
Ford will continue to introduce new driver-assist technologies and is investing $500 million globally in the next five years to expand R&D for new driver-assist and safety technologies. Key areas of focus will be simplifying the technologies so they work as people expect – especially as driving controls become more automated.
Researchers test the user experience with many new technologies at Ford’s VIRTTEX driving simulator in Dearborn and run new systems through a battery of simulations built from more than hundreds of thousands of miles of testing across the country. For example, Ford engineers recently tested a suite of radar and camera technologies for more than 650,000 miles.
This work also will be an important psychological bridge helping people get more comfortable with the idea of autonomous vehicles. According to a 2018 Looking Further with Ford trends report, 72 percent of adults in Asia Pacific are hopeful of a future of autonomous vehicles.
“Many people question the idea of autonomous vehicles,” Farley said. “But those who use advanced driver-assist technologies today say they are more open to cars doing all of the driving in the future.”
But before that, Ford has been testing new driver-assist technologies, such as Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go and Lane Centering Assist in China at the Shanghai International Automobile City (SIAC) since 2017. The testing of such advanced automated technologies in simulated traffic conditions, as well as real roads in China which are considered some of the most congested in the world, will enable Ford to develop, test and validate technological advancements to improve traffic flow and help reduce stress for drivers in China and elsewhere.
“We put ourselves in our customers’ shoes every day and are passionate about innovating advances in technology to face tomorrow’s traffic realities,” said Worthington. “The testing we are conducting now on advanced driver-assist technology features will help us deliver solutions that will truly make life easier for drivers by making their experience on the road more pleasant.”