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Paris test for new SA-bound Focus tech

2014-08-01 08:51

FORD'S TECH FOCUS: Ford new SA-bound Focus, sporting the automaker's latest auto braking and parking technology, will arrive locally by the end of 2014. Image: Newspress

  Ford tests auto braking tech in Paris
  Active City Stop for new Focus
  Perpendicular Parking and Park-Out Assist

COLOGNE, Germany - Ford has put its auto braking technology, Active City Stop (ACS), to the test in one of Europe’s most congested cities – Paris, France.

Bumper-to-bumper traffic, dangerous junctions and drivers pushing through narrow gaps made Paris the ideal location to put Ford’s safety systems to the test.

Ford Europe electrical and electronic systems engineering, Nils Gerber, said: “Paris streets are not for the faint-hearted, with multiple lanes of fast-moving traffic competing for space, and busy junctions testing the nerves of even skilled drivers.


“We knew these streets would be perfect to help test Active City Stop in conditions that are simply not possible to replicate on the test track.”

An advanced version of its active city stop, which operates at speeds of up to 48km/h, debuts on the new Ford Focus on sale later in Europe later in 2014. The new Focus will arrive in South Africa later in 2014.

The ACS light detects and scans the road ahead 50 times a second, enabling the system to help reduce the severity of rear-end collisions, and in some cases even prevent a crash.

If the driver does not react in time to traffic that is slowing or stopped ahead the system brakes, reduces engine torque, and activates the rear hazard lights.

For the test, professional drivers with local knowledge drove vehicles along busy Paris streets, ranked among the 10 most congested in Europe, and through notorious junctions such as the Place de l’Etoile at the Arc de Triomphe, where 12 major avenues converge.

For safety, the auto braking function was disabled during the tests, however engineers were able to monitor the system to see when it would have deployed, and to ensure the brakes were only triggered when there was a risk of rear-end collisions.

They examined specific events in more detail using real-time video of the traffic conditions.


Pascal Houssais, a professional chauffeur who took part in the test, said: “Paris is a very good place for this kind of test – you encounter all kinds of driving situations.  Drivers can be very unpredictable, changing lanes without warning, and people are always in a hurry.”

The latest Paris testing allowed Ford engineers to cover more than 4000km in five days with Mondeo and Tourneo Connect prototypes during peak-traffic conditions. The real-world tests enabled the team to sign off the system as production ready for each model.

ACS has proved a success with European drivers afterbeing introduced in the 2011 Ford Focus. More than 170 000 Ford vehicles across Europe are now equipped with the technology that has since been extended to the Fiesta, B-Max, C-Max, Grand C-Max, Kuga, Transit Connect and Tourneo Connect.

The new Focus will introduce "perpendicular parking" to aid drivers while reversing. Cross Traffic Alert warns drivers reversing out of a parking space of vehicles approaching the rear and Park-Out Assist helps drivers exit a parallel parking space.


Looking ahead, Ford researchers are developing a "fully assistedparking aid" that could enable drivers to park with the push of a button from inside or out of their car.

Ford is investigating advanced systems to help improve road safety based on car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communications including an eectronic emergency brakeight that could alert drivers even around corners and through traffic.

Read more on:    ford  |  south africa  |  technology

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