We’ve all done it – swung too fast onto a freeway ramp and then suddenly had to yank on the steering wheel for control of the vehicle. It’s not fun, and reportedly loosing control on a bend accounts for about 50,000 crashes every year in the U.S. alone. That’s why Ford is introducing Curve Control on its 2011 Explorer and on 90 percent of its crossovers, SUVs, trucks and vans by 2015. The system senses when you’re entering a curve too quickly, and automatically slows your speed by up to 10mph in approximately one second.
An extension of roll stability control (RSC), the Curve Control system uses sensors to measure the vehicle’s roll, yaw, lateral acceleration, wheel speed and steering wheel angle. It runs calculations based on those sensors’ input 100 times a second, and is thus able to detect when the vehicle is not turning as much as the driver is steering. When this situation arises, the system reduces engine torque and applies precisely-controlled four-wheel braking, to help the driver regain control of the situation.
“Too many accidents stem from drivers misjudging their speed going into curves and freeway off- and on-ramps,” said Sue Cischke, Ford’s VP of Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering. “Ford’s Curve Control technology senses a potentially dangerous situation and reduces power and applies brakes more quickly than most drivers can react on their own.”