THE Continental Irish compact family car of the year 2012, the new Ford Focus was the first car to receive four Euro NCAP Advanced safety rewards after its Driver Alert and Forward Alert technologies were honoured.
The rewards come a month after new Ford Ranger achieved an historic first by becoming the only pickup to receive a maximum 5-star safety rating from Euro NCAP. Ranger also achieved the highest score ever recorded by Euro NCAP for pedestrian protection.
Euro NCAP Advanced rewards were introduced in 2010 to recognize car manufacturers who make available new safety technologies. Ford is one of only two manufacturers to hold four of these rewards and the only manufacturer to achieve this with one product.
As part of Euro NCAP’s mission to promote important innovations in safety, they rewarded Ford for its Driver Alert and Forward Alert systems on the Focus, making the car the first that offers four rewarded technologies.
“Seeing a C-segment volume seller like Focus rewarded for various technologies clearly shows where Ford and the automobile industry is moving in Europe,” a Euro NCap spokeman said. “Confidence is growing that driver assistance functions save lives and reduce injuries, the rewards emphasize the benefits for consumers.”
It is estimated 1,300 people a year die on Europe’s roads as a result of driver fatigue. Ford’s award-winning Driver Alert system is designed to detect tired driver behaviour, using advanced camera technology and on-board sensors to evaluate vigilance levels.
The system monitors the vehicle’s position relevant to lane markings using a forward facing, windscreen mounted camera. It also communicates with the car’s on-board yaw sensor to detect erratic movements.
Using this information, the system constantly computes how vigilant the driver is, and presents this rating via a display in the instrument cluster. If it detects the driver is fatigued and needs to rest, it will advise them, first with a soft warning and then with a harder warning.
The Driver Alert feature is available on new Focus, Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy.
Ford’s Forward Alert accident warning system uses radar technology to scan the road ahead for slowing traffic. If it detects a braking, slower moving or recently stopped vehicle in front and it determines that a collision is likely, the system alerts the driver with an audible chime and by flashing a warning symbol in the instrument cluster.
Triggers brake support
If the driver fails to brake immediately the system triggers another function, brake support.
Brake support prepares the brake system for rapid braking by pre-charging the brake booster. When this happens, the brakes are automatically applied and the driver will notice a slight jerk. The braking system is thus at a state of maximum readiness.
As soon as the driver lifts their foot off the accelerator, the system will apply the brakes, slowing the vehicle. When the driver then hits the brake pedal, the system applies full braking force.
Forward Alert can be switched on or off via the cluster menu and drivers can choose between three different sensitivity settings. The brake support feature is always active.
Analysis of European accident data shows that rear-end collisions account for about 15% of all traffic accidents resulting in injury. Forward Alert is designed firstly to warn the driver, and then to reduce the severity of an impact.
Forward Alert is available on new Focus, Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy.