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The 2009 Flex will be available with the Ford Collision Warning System

Ford Collision Warning System Diagram  (Source: Ford)
System warns of impending collision and prepares brakes

Ford Motor Company is betting big on new technology to help drivers avoid accidents. Most cars on the road today utilize technology like air bags to help you survive an accident, but typically only expensive luxury cars utilized technology that actually helped drivers avoid a crash.

Ford announced a new technology called Collision Warning with Brake Support that is coming in 2009 on certain Ford and Lincoln vehicles. The crux of the system is that it detects an imminent collision via a type of radar and produces a tone over the cars audio system to warn the driver.

In addition to the tone warning, the system also projects a red warning light onto the windshield of the vehicle. At the same time the audio and visual warnings are going off, the system primes the brakes for emergency stop.

Braking is pre-charged and a brake-assist feature is engaged to help the driver get maximum braking force as soon as possible. Paul Mascarenas, Ford VP of product engineering, Global Product Development said in a statement, "The new Collision Warning with Brake Support technology puts us on the leading edge of active safety to help customers detect and avoid possible dangers. Ford will be the first to offer this technology on mainstream models that many families can afford."

Ford is mum on exactly what the Brake Support system entails and how specifically it works. It doesn't appear that the system starts braking the vehicle alone; the driver has to initiate braking. Collision warning with Brake Support isn’t the only radar assisted safety system making its way into Ford and Lincoln vehicles.

Ford is introducing Adaptive Cruise Control that will adjust the speed of the vehicle when cruise is engaged depending on proximity to other vehicles. Ford has also announced a system known as BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) that also uses radar.

DailyTech reported this week that Ford introduced a speed limiting key system called MyKey that limits the car to lower speeds when used to start the vehicle. The system is being marketed to parents of teenage children. Interestingly, Bugatti uses a similar system on its exotic Veyron; a special key is needed to get maximum speed from the car.

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The future
By FITCamaro on 10/8/2008 12:25:33 PM , Rating: 3
They keep throwing things into cars and pretty soon we're gonna have to start taking our cars to the dealership to fill up the gas tank.

I'm all for safety but at what point do we say no more? All this stuff keeps doing is adding complexity to the vehicle which creates an opportunity for more things to break.

How about instead we just invest in good driving campaigns. I think insurance companies have the right idea in trying to create better drivers by rewarding a lack of accidents or tickets. All this new technology is doing is making people every more lazy drivers who pay less and less attention to the road.

RE: The future
By Lord 666 on 10/8/2008 12:35:00 PM , Rating: 2
What it is leading up to are cars that drive themselves, especially in traffic.

The root cause of most traffic is human error and communication with other drivers. Once within a zone, cars should be taken over by the road so the traffic flow becomes seamless.

Never understood why people keep 6+ car lengths while driving through the Lincoln Tunnel when the speed limit is 35. If there wasn't that much gap, then there wouldn't be that much traffic.

RE: The future
By FITCamaro on 10/8/08, Rating: 0
RE: The future
By Lord 666 on 10/8/2008 1:32:06 PM , Rating: 2
I was hoping for Demolition Man

RE: The future
By FITCamaro on 10/8/2008 3:03:23 PM , Rating: 2
Insta-foam airbag FTW!

RE: The future
By Samus on 10/8/2008 6:42:32 PM , Rating: 2
FIT, I agree. I autocross and have faith in my driving. Ihave avoided pretty complex scenerio's on the road. However, most people are not very good drivers and without the continued developement of safety technology, traffic collissions and fatalities will continue to exist at the frequency they do.

However, I know what you mean. My girlfriend awhile back was cut off and hit someone, very minor accident, no airbags and no real damage outside of the bumper and headlight, but the seatbelt pretensioners were triggered for the driver and passenger seat (no passenger) because of the hard braking and needed to be replaced along with the restraint control module (which is good for ONE use)

Total bill of materials was $500 bucks just for the stupid pretensioners/module which essentially did nothing but hold her back in the seat. This was on a 2002 Focus.

RE: The future
By FITCamaro on 10/9/2008 8:09:00 AM , Rating: 2
I'm surprised it was that cheap.

Don't know why the truth got rated down. Guess its rarely popular anymore these days.

RE: The future
By clovell on 10/9/2008 12:40:25 PM , Rating: 3
It got rated down because you guys seem to think your nuanced personal experience should be generalized.

RE: The future
By Regs on 10/9/2008 9:53:29 AM , Rating: 3
I actually agree with you there. At that point we might as well all take a train.

RE: The future
By ZmaxDP on 10/9/2008 12:44:41 PM , Rating: 2
I'm right in the middle on this one. I like to drive, but I hate traffic and all the stupid drivers that cause it. Then there's the whole toll-road thing. As a Texan, I hate toll roads and refuse to use them (which is getting hard here in Dallas).

I think the way this should roll is that cars should be capable of driving assistance through some kind of guidance system. Because I don't want it, I don't want to have to pay for it. So, what if toll roads had the other half of the system built into them. You pay the toll, and your car takes over and drives itself until the toll road ends or you get to your exit and pay the exit fare (speed pass or whatever it's called in your area). Then you take back over. For those people that don't want to drive they can take the toll road and subsidize their laziness. For those of us that do we can take the old road and drive like we want. Way to idealistic to happen, but if only it could...

RE: The future
By Lord 666 on 10/9/2008 3:10:23 PM , Rating: 2
Great idea for the toll roads. The infrastructure costs of building traditional mass-transit (light rail, subway, monorails) in Texas and other metro areas outside of NYC are very cost prohibitive to start from scratch. Especially how fast DFW area is growing (or was growing).

Anyway, by using your proposed system, it effectively becomes mass transit, but a Bring Your Own Car approach. I would love to pull onto the NJ GSP and/or Turnpike and have the car take over so I can read a book, hold a conference call, or prepare for the day.

RE: The future
By Reclaimer77 on 10/8/2008 6:20:51 PM , Rating: 2
What it is leading up to are cars that drive themselves, especially in traffic.

Brought to us by Ford ? No thanks. When they can figure out how to make SUV's and cars that don't explode... maybe.

The root cause of most traffic is human error and communication with other drivers.

Thats the " root cause " of every problem in the world isn't it ? Simply taking people out of the loop is a childish idealist goal.

Once within a zone, cars should be taken over by the road so the traffic flow becomes seamless.

Yes because those same " human errors " surely wont factor into this system, right ? It will be magically delivered to us by angels or aliens.

So what happens when we're dumbed down to the point that a fault or failure in this system causes massive pileups and death because nobody knows how to actually drive ?

Never understood why people keep 6+ car lengths while driving through the Lincoln Tunnel when the speed limit is 35. If there wasn't that much gap, then there wouldn't be that much traffic.

Its called safety. Would you rather them tailgate and caue a wreck ?

Traffic congestion is caused by bottlenecks, poor planning, and of course, Liberal politicians constantly raping the highway and road funds to dump it into community planning and wealth redistribution plans. NOT the occasional driver who leaves too much space.

RE: The future
By clovell on 10/8/2008 1:42:46 PM , Rating: 2
I see how the concept applies, FIT, but most of the stuff in this article isn't too revolutionary. These techs have been standard on Volvos (except for adaptive cruise - that was/is an option) for a few years.

Once you start nixing mechanical linkages in favor of a drive-by-wire design, precharging brakes is almost corollary. Radar has been around for like a century (I will be either downrated or corrected via wiki link on that one, I'm sure). What I mean to say is that the systems described in this article aren't all that complex to where they would be likely to break down and render a vehicle inoperable / unsafe.

But, as I mentioned, I get your point. We say no more when we don't buy stuff we think is 'too much'. We buy insurance from companies like you described, etc. We vote with our dollars.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser
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