Ford Co-Pilot360 Offers Automatic Emergency Braking

Ford is detailing a slew of high-profile developments related to the evolution of its autonomous vehicle projects, the latest being the launch of Co-Pilot360.The Co-Pilot360 suite of standard driver-assist technologies includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, auto high beam lighting, a lane keeping system, rear backup camera and a blind spot information system.

The company is also offering a selection of premium-level advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) features, including adaptive cruise control, which includes stop and go and lane centering, and post-collision braking.

Another feature is evasive steering assist (ESA), which promises to help drivers steer around an imminent crash. During an potential emergency the ESA system activates the moment it detects an evasive swerve.

Once the driver initiates the steering action, ESA takes over. The system then pilots the vehicle enough to avoid the obstacle, while also preventing the car from crashing into anything else or spinning out of control.

Ford also announced automatic emergency braking (AEB), designed to help prevent drivers from hitting an object while backing up, would be standard in North America on new passenger cars, SUVs and trucks up to the popular F-150.

The AEB platform also includes pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, which triggers warning flashes and alert sounds if the vehicle is in danger of hitting a pedestrian or vehicle in front of it.

If the driver does not react quickly enough, the system takes over and the braking is applied automatically.

Through steering wheel vibration, the lane keeping system can alert drivers they need to correct course when it detects the vehicle drifting close to lane markings.

The blind spot information system (BLIS) uses radar to identify a vehicle entering the blind spot and alerts the driver with an indicator light in the side-view mirror.

The BLIS system can also help drivers when slowly backing out of a parking spot or driveway, altering drivers to traffic behind them.

“Though our vehicles today are safer than ever, drivers tell us they are still stressed about getting in a potential accident,” Jim Farley, Ford president of global markets, noted in a statement. “That’s one reason why we’re making these must-have technologies accessible to millions of customers each year.”

Ford plans to offer the technology to its commercial customers as well, with the E-Series, F-650 and F-750 and F59 chassis available with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, driver alert system and other ADAS features by the close of the decade.

The ADAS technologies are part of Ford’s half-billion dollar investment over the next five years to continue development of the company’s ADAS systems, which are tested in the VIRTETEX simulator — a 24-foot dome that houses a full-size vehicle.

“Many people question the idea of autonomous vehicles,” Farley noted. “But those who use advanced driver-assist technologies today say they are more open to cars doing all of the driving in the future.”

— Nathan Eddy is a filmmaker and freelance journalist based in Berlin. Follow him on Twitter @dropdeaded209_LR.

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