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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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By MagnumMan on 10/8/2008 1:04:30 PM , Rating: -1
This seems like a really stupid idea along with the speed limiting I heard about a couple days ago. First of all, if an unfamiliar sound AND light go off in your car it is going to distract you, not focus you. Second, when we have to make an emergency stop, we slam on the brakes already and lock up the tires or kick in the ALB system (alti-lock brakes). Now how is this "brake readiness" system supposed to improve braking exactly? Is it going to prime the hydraulics so that even the slightest touch of the pedal is full braking? Sometimes you do NOT want the brakes on full bore, especially in inclement weather. Last winter my Subaru ALB system came on when I had to e-stop and I swear it was too sensitive. I stopped about an inch from the person I would have hit and off to the side, but I truly feel I could have done a better job without the ALB. Too many gizmos between me and the road... I think this is a bad idea, it could even increase response times by scaring people when it comes on.




By clovell on 10/8/2008 1:48:11 PM , Rating: 3
Sorry, FIT - I've gotta disagree here. ABS saved my ass at least a dozen times last winter in Chicago.


By omnicronx on 10/8/2008 1:58:53 PM , Rating: 3
I also have to disagree, I live with snow at least 5 months out of the year, anti-lock breaks can be the difference of sliding 10 feet and 20 feet. Pumping your breaks, does work, but not with the efficiency of anti-lock breaks.

What most companies do not mention is the fact that in order for ABS to be effective, the tires must remain in contact with the road, so if there is debris, or one side of the cars tires are on ice and the other is not, it can cause more harm than good.

I do agree with you on one front, ABS is not a replacement for driving carefully for the conditions. When trying to stop from 60MPH on icy roads, ABS is not going to help you, at that point it all becomes about physics, and not even ABS can cut down stopping time enough for it to be a safe driving replacement.


By Mitch101 on 10/8/2008 3:53:49 PM , Rating: 2
Thats why they should make skins like those for an iPod or Zune for cars.

Make them from Nerf and in the winter you can hit anything. Then reckless driving would be fun. I also believe Nerf floats for even more reckless driving fun. ;)


RE: Help me Ford, I don't know how to slam on my brakes!
By on 10/8/2008 4:32:54 PM , Rating: 2
You may disagree, but who needs any brakes when its time to run over those global warming lemmings. I like to yell out the window "Now that's an inconvenient truth!" after I pancake them.


By clovell on 10/9/2008 12:47:00 PM , Rating: 2
LMAO!!!!


By jimbojimbo on 10/8/2008 3:21:43 PM , Rating: 2
I saw a documentary on autmobile safety and they said when anti-lock brakes came out, everyone dreamed of safer driving and predicted accident rates will go down. They found out that people just drove more recklessly and accident rates stayed the same. It seems there's a rate of accidents that people are happy with. If safety devices go up they just become worse drivers until they pass that rate at which point they start to take notice and drive a little bit more carefully. Human behaviour at its finest.


By FITCamaro on 10/9/2008 8:26:41 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. The safer you make cars, the crappier people drive. The only reason people have to fear most accidents anymore is that of their insurance going up.


By FITCamaro on 10/9/2008 9:03:16 AM , Rating: 2
And you seem to assume I care what people on the internet think of me.

I agree that road deaths are tragic. Is it so wrong to think though that instead of pouring billions of dollars into safety systems which only add cost, complexity, and weight to our vehicles, we should perhaps instead focus on improving the quality of our drivers so they are unneeded?

Do I mind ABS existing? No. Do I mind airbags existing? No. Do I think we need warning systems of an impending collision? No. You should already know that because you are supposed to be paying attention to the road first and foremost.


By andrinoaa on 10/10/2008 3:42:52 AM , Rating: 2
Yea right FIt, same as sex education, just say no. Ignorance is bliss all right.


By donxvi on 10/8/2008 1:27:40 PM , Rating: 4
I can tell you how these pre-braking systems work, they use the ABS/stability control hardware to (1) apply a slight pressure in the system to remove the pad knockback that pushes the pads away from the rotors while you drive, this allows your brake apply to produce deceleration several milliseconds faster and (2) it may enable a panic brake assist because, contrary to what you may believe, many drivers, even in a panic stop, do not apply enough brake pedal force to drive the tires to full deceleration; the ABS system detects a panic stop and increases line pressure to drive the system into max decel.
And while I can't speak for your Subaru's ABS system, a typical ABS performance requirement is for the system to outperform a driver's best distance on snow, ice, wet and dry. Drivers can't modulate all 4 tires individually when they begin to lock, so any competently tuned ABS system has a huge advantage.


By clovell on 10/8/2008 1:51:22 PM , Rating: 2
It could, but it doesn't. This tech has been standard on Volvos for the last few years. The light and sound are designed to bring the driver to attention, and they are used in conjunction with a host of measurements that the car takes to see if a person is drowsy or unalert.


By Screwballl on 10/8/2008 2:10:27 PM , Rating: 2
I have been saved by ABS where standard lockup brakes would have likely killed me.
When you get these old people going across traffic in their "ho-hum no rush" style of driving to the side roads on an already strained stretch of state highway here in FL, the ABS has allowed me to swerve properly to avoid them at least 5 times in the past 5 years. If the brakes had locked up that would have been 5 major accidents and possibly death involved due to the circumstances.
Even the one major accident I did have on that same stretch in 2004 had helped slow the vehicle to around 45mph (from 60, the speed limit) from some 17 year old kid trying to gas it across the lanes to the side road... I had Tboned his truck. This was a 2001 Ford Exploder and they had a safety feature that locks the speedometer at the point the airbags are deployed and it showed 45mph.
If it wasn't for the ABS we would have hit at around 55-60 and been much worse for both of us.


By walk2k on 10/8/2008 6:19:34 PM , Rating: 2
ABS doesn't decrease stopping distance in fact it INcreases it. That is not its job, its job is to prevent spins and loss of control during hard braking, not to decrease stopping distance while braking in a straight line.

Have to say, I've only seen where ABS has hurt me, by increasing the stopping distance. I wish I could disable it on my car.


By andrinoaa on 10/8/2008 10:02:45 PM , Rating: 3
Ok , brain surgeon, explain the mechanics of why ABS increases the stopping distance!
By inference , you are saying you know how to lock your brakes in the wet and still stop quicker than ABS!
Join FIT in the back of the classroom, please.


By Reclaimer77 on 10/9/2008 12:15:13 AM , Rating: 2
ABS excels at " panic breaking ". In other words, breaking that would otherwise cause a 4 wheel lockup. But for all other transitional breaking, yes, anti lock will slightly increase your stopping distance. So technically hes right, and wrong.

For extreme weather conditions obviously ABS is superior as even one wheel locking up in ice/snow/rain can cause unwanted lateral rotation.


By Calin on 10/9/2008 12:26:15 AM , Rating: 2
ABS, by allowing the blocked wheels to not brake until they start turning again, increase braking distance in "perfect conditions" (dry asphalt, when the locked wheels and the rolling ones have about the same traction).
ABS is useful only when you try to manoeuver while braking (which with ABS you can no matter how hard you push on the brake pedal), or when you want to stop but the locked wheels have less traction than the rolling ones (on water films, snow, and so on).
Look at braking distance with and without ABS on dry asphalt - from 60 to 0, for one model of car it was 42 with ABS and 40 without it.


By andrinoaa on 10/9/2008 5:55:12 PM , Rating: 2
Like I said , boys, go to the back of the class.
What kind of education allows you to open your mouths on something you don't understand?
Best braking is done when you have the most friction between rubber and road. This is at its maximum JUST BEFORE LOCKUP. At 5-10 times a second, ABS works so much faster than a dickhead driver, at keeping the friction at its optimum point. If you are getting "without" figures to be better, then ABS hasn't been implemented very well on that car. In which case I would never ever buy that car!!!!


By donxvi on 10/9/2008 7:55:08 PM , Rating: 2
Ditto this. I don't know how to rate your post up, but you're spot on. A tire loses a lot of its ability to slow the car when you drive it into too much slip; that is, when the rotational speed of the tire differs too much from what it would be if it was rolling freely.

How do I know ? I'm an ABS development engineer for a major automaker.

Here's the bonus for the remaining unabombers out there-ABS will increase stopping distance on deep, soft surfaces, that's deep, soft (I said DEEP & SOFT, not around town at noon) snow and loose gravel where the wedge in front of a locked tire will help stop better than the tire can grip the surface. In these conditions, ABS still allows steering where locked tires don't.


By andrinoaa on 10/10/2008 3:33:11 AM , Rating: 2
When ABS first became available , issues about its effectiveness in gravel came to the for. These issues have now been resolved with subtle ABS tuning. Basic science. I guess I payed attention in class, lol.
I repeat for the ignoratus out there, if you dont understand, don't create "white noise".


"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings

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