Automotive

Ford's new kick-activated tailgate provides hands-free opening

Ford's new kick-activated tail...
A simple swing of the foot opens the rear hatch thanks to Ford's new kick-activated tailgate
A simple swing of the foot opens the rear hatch thanks to Ford's new kick-activated tailgate
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The new tailgate is quick and simple
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The new tailgate is quick and simple
A simple swing of the foot opens the tailgate
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A simple swing of the foot opens the tailgate
Open the door and seamlessly slide your packages in
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Open the door and seamlessly slide your packages in
The kick-activated tailgate makes its European debut on the new Ford Kuga
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The kick-activated tailgate makes its European debut on the new Ford Kuga
A simple swing of the foot opens the rear hatch thanks to Ford's new kick-activated tailgate
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A simple swing of the foot opens the rear hatch thanks to Ford's new kick-activated tailgate
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Ford may have spent last month using technology to create more problems, but this month it shows how it's using technology to actually solve problems. The new kick-activated tailgate on the Kuga SUV lets you open the tailgate without your hands. It's a valuable feature for anyone that tends to lug two armfuls worth of goods to the car.

The latest Kuga, which is on display at the Geneva Motor Show, features a two-sensor system that recognizes the movement of the shin and foot and opens the tailgate automatically. The feature is useful for anyone that has their hands full with groceries or other packages and wants to open the car without having to set them down. To open, Kuga owners simply lightly kick their foot under the rear bumper.

The hands-free tailgate system can only be activated when it recognizes the remote-entry key on your person. You don't have to pull your key FOB out to unlock the doors, because the system automatically recognizes it and unlocks with the flick of your foot. In this way, the system is as secure as a regular remote entry.

Ford developers spent six months working in the Human Machine Interface laboratory, tweaking the system with the help of volunteer kickers that tested the motion sensors. They ensured that the system distinguishes between actual kicks and other motions - say a pothole in the road - so that the tailgate doesn't inadvertently pop open when you least expect it.

With so much technology going into ambiguous or arguably dangerous automotive systems, it's good to see an automaker using technology to solve an actual real-life problem, however small it may be.

The kick-activated tailgate will be offered as an option on the new Kuga, which is set to launch in the U.K. early next year. The option is already available on the Kuga's North American counterpart, the Escape.

Source: Ford

16 comments
Will Larson
um,, the evil side of me would love to see someone take the tailgate in the face after using their foot to open it. I'm looking forward to this.
Slowburn
I would prefer to have a mechanical release but it is a good idea.
Ct
Wonder how that works in cold climates where the sensor gets covered in snow and ice from road spray?
Bill Bennett
since I am in the car repair business I have found some rear lids to be dangerous when they auto open, Mormon housewife knocked out by by minivan, film at 11 o clock news, stay tuned
Slowburn
They should make the tailgate hinge farther forward so you can carry a refrigerator. it would also reduce haw far it wings out when opened.
BZD
God idea but not a new one. The BMW 5-series has this already.
Riaanh
Just keep this car away from burly factory workers with safety shoes on. ;-)
Richardf
What if the all the doors folded up into the roof such as in shutters on shop fronts this avoids impaling oneself or ones fellow road user not to mention the paint work.
John Parkes
Absolute Brilliance. Sometimes we get so involved we miss the little things...this is one of those little things that we slap our foreheads when we see and wonder why we haven't thought of it sooner.
Dawar Saify
So American vehicle manufacturing has a future.