Automotive

Future Fords will brake for pedestrians automatically

Future Fords will brake for pe...
Radar scans the road for pedestrians
Radar scans the road for pedestrians
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The system can apply full braking force to avoid a collision
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The system can apply full braking force to avoid a collision
The 2015 Ford Mondeo will be the first vehicle to offer the new technology
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The 2015 Ford Mondeo will be the first vehicle to offer the new technology
Radar scans the road for pedestrians
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Radar scans the road for pedestrians

Ford has announced a new "pre-collision assist" system that takes advantage of data from radar and cameras to actively detect pedestrians and automatically apply the brakes to avoid or at least reduce the severity of accidents.

A windshield-mounted camera and radar located near the bumper scan the roadway and provide warnings to the driver if a collision risk is detected, and if the driver fails to respond promptly enough, the system can automatically brake, applying full force if necessary.

The system can apply full braking force to avoid a collision
The system can apply full braking force to avoid a collision

Semi-automated collision avoidance systems like this one, as well as those developed by Volvo, and more recently Tesla with its new autopilot functions are designed to help reduce the dangerous impacts of distracted driving, though it seems just as easy to argue that these kind of assistive technologies may actually enable even more bad driving habits. Both Elon Musk and Ford stress that systems like pre-collision assist are not meant to replace the driver. Ford notes that its system has limitations that include "nighttime, low and harsh lighting conditions, vehicles moving in a different direction and certain weather conditions."

Ford says its engineers tested the system and closed tracks using rigs fitted with mannequins under a variety of different conditions.

“This real-world testing was an important part of the development, because pedestrians in an urban setting can present a wide range of potential situations,” said Ford's Scott Lindstrom. “We covered more than 300,000 miles on three continents that included a wide range of settings and situations.”

The 2015 Ford Mondeo will be the first vehicle to offer the new technology
The 2015 Ford Mondeo will be the first vehicle to offer the new technology

The system will first debut as an option on the 2015 Ford Mondeo in Europe this year before expanding to other models and markets.

See a demonstration of the technology in the video below from Ford.

Source: Ford.

6 comments
Jeff Rosati
I wish ford would make a hat that would make pedestrians look both ways ... just say'n!
Anne Ominous
They'd better build in a quick and easy override for this, otherwise 2 people could carjack you by just having one of them stand there.
Vincent Bevort
Don't worry Anne, The will not get out of the shop with the car. To many pedestrians around to drive. It will stop forever
Brian M
Wonder if it can distinguish between dogs/other animals, adults. Would small children be detected? On the other hand hard breaking for squirrels, pigeons, dogs etc., would increase risks to humans, from rear endings to whip lash, even hot spilt coffee (passengers!). Given the number of false warnings I get from seat belt detectors and rear parking devices think I would prefer just a warning.
Bob Flint
This band aid solution will entice legal hounds, address the real problem.....STUPID DRIVER DISTRACTIONS....
Milton
@ Jeff Rosati: funny comment, but putting the blame on the victim isn't going to get you anywhere, especially when the culprit is piloting a 3-5K lb human-squashing machine. @ Anne Ominous: I imagine you could still turn. Otherwise, to write-off the system on the basis that "you can't plow-through car-jackers" is catering to the most barbaric drivers in the most unlikely scenarios. @ Vincent Bevort: In what world is nudging pedestrians out of the way acceptable? If it's creeping through a pedestrian-filled street that is your concern, something tells me the "collision detection" isn't quite so sensitive at 2 mph as it is at 20 mph. @Brian M: Now there's a real-world concern. Distinguishing between humans and animals is of high importance to this system. Squirrel vs Kid can be done easily with size, but as you pointed out: Dog vs Kid wouldn't be so easy. Being an animal lover myself, I wouldn't be opposed to braking for dogs, spilled coffee being acceptable to me. As for rear-ending, it wouldn't happen as more and more auto-manufactures eliminate poor human reaction-times with a computer. So this "auto-brake" (or even auto-pilot) concept scales very well. Plus, detection between dog vs human could be done on computer visuals (I don't know any humans that would be on all 4's in the street... wild babies in the street maybe?)