2013 Ford Fusion to Have “Luxury” Safety Features
Ford is introducing an affordable family sedan with all the safety features previously found only in luxury cars. As John Goreham reports for Torque News, the 2013 Ford Fusion will offer such technology as a driver alert system, lane assist, adaptive cruise control, and blind spot/cross traffic alert.
No exact word yet on prices, but in a press statement Ford says these types of features had previously been available on luxury cars costing twice as much. By making these features available on the new Fusion, Ford will be bypassing the Hyundai Sonata, Honda Accord, and Toyota Camry and starting [to] offer features only found on cars like mid-level Lexus and Mercedes sedans.
Ford explains the features:
- With a forward-facing camera, the Lane-Keeping System scans the road surface for lane markings and vibrates the steering wheel if the car is drifting out of lane. If the driver does not respond, the system “provides steering torque to nudge the car back into lane.”
- Also using a forward-facing camera, the Driver Alert System can detect a pattern of vehicle motion consistent with a drowsy driver. When that is the case, the system provides a series of alerts for the driver, among them, a coffee cup icon on the instrument cluster display. Ford notes that an AAA Foundation study found that 40% of Americans have admitted to falling asleep or nodding off while driving.
- Pull-Drift Compensation, which is built into electric power-assisted steering (EPAS), counters the effects of either steeply crowned roads or steady crosswinds. It knows when the car is changing direction even when the driver is not causing the change, then uses the EPAS system to correct the steering gradually.
- Using a radar sensor, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Collision Warning “measures the distance and speed to the vehicle ahead.” And the same technology used by the car’s traction control system can slow the car and maintain a safe distance between it and the vehicle in front of it as long as the ACC is active. The system provides visual and audio alerts to warn the driver when the sensors detect that the distance between the car and the vehicle in front of it is shrinking too fast and a collision is likely.
- Active Park Assist uses EPAS and ultrasonic sensors at the car’s corners to automatically steer the car into a parking space. The driver only needs to apply the accelerator and brake.
- The Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert uses radar sensors at the car’s rear corners to detect any vehicles in the driver’s blind spots when he or she is changing lanes or backing out of a parking space, and alerts the driver via a warning light in the mirror. The car’s back-up camera provides a view directly behind the rear bumper.
Ford’s statement says that the driver assist systems in the new Fusion are “foundational hardware” that will pave the way for future safety technology, including autonomous assisted driving in the long-term.
As Robert E. Calem notes in a TechNewsDaily article on Mother Nature Network:
Each of those technologies is already available in other Ford vehicles, and in ones offered by other automakers, such as Volvo, Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz. But the 2013 Fusion will be the only car in its market segment to offer all of these safety features (aside from blind-spot protection, which the Toyota Camry has).
Budget-conscious consumers can buy the 2013 Fusion without these features, Goreham points out: “Ford realizes these are not for everyone and wisely is making them optional to keep costs under control for drivers who just want a good practical car without the new technology.”
Here is a video that shows how the Lane-Keeping System works:
Image by Ford, used under Fair Use: Reporting.