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Parking is stressful for everyone... but Ford wants to change that

Here’s what its new technology can do.

Image: Ford Media Centre

PARKING IS A pet hate for drivers across Europe.

In the UK, a quarter of accidents occur in car parks and almost half of drivers say they would rather travel further from their destination than attempt to parallel park, according to a survey carried out by Ford.

As a result, the company is investing heavily in next-gen driver assist technology to make parking less stressful and enable drivers to park in spaces they wouldn’t otherwise consider.

Torsten Wey, manager of Chassis and Safety Electronics at Ford of Europe said that parking “remains one of the most demanding tasks most of us perform day in, day out”.

So what have Ford got up their sleeves? Well, as with other manufacturers their newest cars already include various parking technologies – but at Ford’s 2016 Innovation Event we got to see three new technologies that build on the current systems.

Here’s what they are designed to do

1. Prevent those nasty car-park accidents

The first new system builds on Ford’s Cross Traffic Alert, which detects vehicles, scooters and cyclists that are about to pass behind the car – and will automatically stop if you don’t react quickly enough.

Source: Ford Media Centre

This new system uses radar sensors to monitor the area behind the vehicle. If the driver is reversing and does not react to the initial warning, the system is designed to automatically apply the brakes. The system can react to motorcycles and bicycles approaching at speeds in excess of 7km/h.

2. Help you see when reversing blind

The second of these technologies is the Rear Wide View Camera, which shows on the in-car display a 180-degree wide-angle view from the rear of the vehicle.

Source: Ford Media Centre

This builds on the similar functionality of Ford’s Front Wide View Camera located at the front of the Ford Edge, Galaxy and S-MAX models. When reversing, Rear Wide View Camera enables drivers to see around corners and obstacles and to see vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians approaching from behind the vehicle.

3. Park the car automatically at the press of a button

The third is the Enhanced Active Park Assist system, which involves simply pressing one button to park, both in parallel and perpendicular spaces.

Source: Ford Media Centre

The Enhanced Active Park Assist controls steering, gear selection and forward and reverse movements. The system can automatically enter and exit a parallel parking space, and can reverse the vehicle into a perpendicular space. Enhanced Active Park Assist also uses sensors to locate suitable parking spaces.

When activated this system finds a suitable space and – when the driver presses a button – the car does the rest. To stop the manoeuvre the driver just has to take their finger off the button. To control the speed, the drive can use the brake but other than that there is no need for the driver to have their hand on the wheel or their feet on the pedals.

Source: Ford Media Centre

When leaving the parking space, the driver just uses the indicator to let the system know which side to exit and the car safely and securely manoeuvres itself out of the space.

Watch it in action here:

Source: Ford Europe/YouTube

Dirk Gunia, supervisor, Driver Assist Electronics, Ford of Europe, says:
Parking is one of the most stressful experiences behind the wheel, and drivers struggling to find suitable parking spaces in urban areas can have a knock-on effect for traffic flow as well as stress-levels
Technologies like our Enhanced Active Park Assist will help drivers feel confident about parking in spaces they might otherwise have considered too small.

These new technologies are expected to be first made available on Ford vehicles in the next two years.

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About the author:

Melanie May  / https://www.melaniemay.com

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