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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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Questions, Questions, Questions
By bldckstark on 10/8/2008 12:59:01 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder how they calibrate it also. They would have to start with the lowest coefficient of friction road type, then add in the maximum vehicle weight with passengers and cargo, then work it against the distance it would take to stop the vehicle from the speed it is traveling. So what happens if the road is wet (but my windshield wipers are not on)? What happens if someone changes lanes in front of me? How is it calibrated for different tires when the OEM tires wear out?

Mercedes used a system like this, but they let the system apply the brakes initially. A lot of vehicles use adaptive cruise control now.

RE: Questions, Questions, Questions
By donxvi on 10/8/2008 1:35:31 PM , Rating: 2
One design philosophy for these types of systems is to try and reduce crash energy. I think that's even hinted at in the graphic, which seems to imply that the system will automatically brake once a collision is imminent. It won't seize control of your car, and you can still crash if you're inattentive, but it will step in to reduce the severity. As such, the system probably isn't required to alert you every time you're close enough to a car that you may hit it in worst case conditions. There is probably still an assumption that you'll increase following distance and reduce speed in inclement conditions, etc. Good luck finding more information, though, you know this is far more sophisticated than your local Ford dealership will be able to explain !

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