Besides their fellowship and navigational skills, vehicular passengers are also good for grabbing the steering wheel should an oblivious driver zone out and fail to see a jaywalking pedestrian.
Now comes news that Ford is developing a car equipped with that same technology. The motor company says their onboard Obstacle Avoidance system first warns the driver of impending obstacles, and if they do not act, takes control of the steering wheel if it detects there is risk of a collision. Brakes are applied, then the system scans for clear road and steers in that direction
One of Ford’s Focus models has been equipped with the system and is being tested at a research facility in Germany. The system scans up to 650 feet ahead of the vehicle by way of three radars, a variety of ultrasonic sensors and a camera.
“You’re driving down the road and a pedestrian or something comes out from either side of your vehicle from your peripheral vision where you don’t have a good look at it,” Bard Samardzich, vice-president of product development at Ford’s European division, told the BBC. “Obstacle Avoidance can sense that the pedestrian or that object is coming across the front of your vehicle. If it doesn’t sense you responding accordingly in your vehicle by braking or manoeuvring, it will take over.”
As a potential indicator that Ford may be working on driverless cars, the Obstacle Avoidance system could help cut down on rear-end collisions. According to data collected by Germany’s Federal Statistical Office, Ford says fewer than one-third of all drivers involved in rear-end collisions attempted to steer clear of the accident.
Still, drivers, this doesn’t give you carte blanche to text and drive. If you think it does, perhaps Mr. Herzog can convince you otherwise.