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Ford's Co-Pilot 360, its Most Advanced Suite of Driver-Assist Technologies to Debut on 2019 Models

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【Summary】Ford Motor Co has announced that its Co-Pilot360, the most advanced suite driver-assist technologies will be available on models this later this year. Ford aims to provide drivers around the world with additional safety for congested roads.

Eric Walz    Mar 15, 2018 11:42 AM PT
Ford's Co-Pilot 360, its Most Advanced Suite of Driver-Assist Technologies to Debut on 2019 Models
author: Eric Walz   

DEARBORN, Mich., —  Ford Motor Co has announced that its Co-Pilot360, the most advanced suite driver-assist technologies will be available on models this later this year. Ford aims to provide drivers around the world with additional safety for congested roads.

Ford's Co-Pilot 360 includes standard automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot information system, lane keeping system, rear backup camera and auto high beam lighting. The advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) will roll out across Ford's new passenger cars, SUVs and trucks up to F-150 in North America, starting on the new 2019 Ford Edge and Edge ST this fall.

"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 must-have technologies accessible to millions of customers each year."

Ford says its Co-Pilot 360 is the most advanced suite of standard driver-assist technologies available compared to other automakers. The automatic braking and pedestrian detection can identify and stop the car automatically if a person appears in the vehicle's path. 360 also includes a blind spot information system, lane keeping system, rear backup camera and auto high beam lighting – a combination other automakers do not offer yet as a standard features in North America.

The heart of the system is standard automatic emergency braking – called pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection – that 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.

Blind spot information system, or BLIS, uses radar to identify a vehicle entering the blind spot and alerts the driver with an indicator light embedded 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 advanced 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 too close to lane markings. The second feature provides steering torque to steer back toward the center of the lane. In addition, a driver alert system continuously monitors driving pattern using a forward-facing 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.

Ford's technology is be available for commercial customers as well. By 2020, E-Series, F-650 and F-750 and F59 chassis trucks and vans will come with available automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and driver alert system.

A National Transportation Safety Board study shows having technologies such as automatic braking can help prevent and mitigate rear-end crashes, which can help customers lower their cost of ownership.

"Our commercial customers trust our trucks to get the job done," Farley said. "And soon, we'll be giving them another reason to trust us even more."

Ford will continue to introduce new driver-assist technologies. Next year, it plans to debut in North America and Asia Pacific automatic emergency braking for when drivers are in reverse, a usefeature when backing out of driveways, or other areas with limited visibility.

Ford also announced it is investing $500 million over the next five years to continue developing new driver-assist and more advanced safety technologies. The 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 simulations built from more than hundreds of thousands of miles of testing across the country. For example, engineers tested a recent suite of radar and camera technologies for more than 660,000 miles in simulation across multiple global locations.

This work also will help people become more comfortable with the idea 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."

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