What do you look for when choosing your car? Is it the design of the car? Is it the car booth space? Is it the engine? Or is it its safety features? Safety features was never top priority when buying a car until recently I went for a tour with Ford that opened my eyes on how technology can override human error to avoid accidents. The ‘Future of Safety with Ford’ Tour was showcased at One Utama Shopping Center, Petaling Jaya on Thursday and Friday, August 6th and 7th form 10am – 8pm. The tour comprised of 40-minute safety briefings that commenced every half an hour. Among the participants in my batch were constables who came to witness the gravity of commitment by Ford in safety.
|Ford known for its tough body|
How did Ford build their cars? During the tour, volunteers were requested to don gears that simulate the drunken, the aged, and the expectant respectively. I am impressed that simulation was very close to reality. I volunteered to be the drunken. Goggles that produce double vision, weights on the hands and legs that really made me look like I had 5 bottles of wine were worn. I could not walk a straight line no matter how I tried! I never got into the car because ONE SHOULD NEVER DRINK AND DRIVE. Another male volunteer got into a Ford car with an empathy belly that made him look like he was expecting. Tips for driving safe during pregnancy were shared. Pregnant ladies should wear the seatbelt below the abdomen, across the hips and between the breasts. The aged suit was developed by Ford to simulate partial vision whereas braces and weights to mimic difficulty in movements. It was good to learn that Ford takes realistic human factors into consideration when designing their automobile.
|Ford personnel prepping me to be the drunken|
|I could not walk a straight line no matter how hard I tried|
To summarize what Ford has to offer other than their well known tough exterior, these are Ford features dedicated to evade accidents.
For parents, the importance of fitting a child seat in their vehicles was highlighted. Ford cars are ISOFIX friendly which enables international standard anchorage of childseats in cars. This would come in handy when I become a mother in the future.
I also saw hands-on demonstrations of Ford Sync2 which allows drivers to speak to the car to make a hands-free phone call or to play their favourite song. It is the Siri of Ford. The car can be connected to the mobile phone via Bluetooth, 2 USB ports with smart charging, SD-card slot and 3.5mm auxiliary input.
|Talk to your car with Ford Sync2|
MyKey is my favourite feature. It acts like a guardian angel for your young driver at home. It is an industry-first technology that allows vehicle owners to program a key for themselves or beginner drivers that limits top speed, reduces maximum radio volume, disables the radio until the seatbelts are fastened and prevents deactivation of driver assistance technologies. So you do not have to worry about your speeding teenager anymore. Its MyKey or no key!
Active Park Assist
Blind Spot Information System (BLIS)
An indicator is also available at the side mirrors to alert the driver if there is any vehicle near-by and undetected due to the blind spot zone.
This technology leaves me in awe. It is like the car is there to guide you. When a car drifts out of its lane unintentionally, the system will detect the road markins and notify the driver through a vibration of the steering wheel. If the driver is slow to react, the system takes it even further by providing steering torque to guide the vehicle back toward the centre of the lane. Very smart huh!
Ford's hands-free tailgate is available in Ford Kuga. The sensors allow you to use gentle leg motion to open the back hatch door without lifting a finger. There is no more fumbling for keys or clumsily putting things down to open the car door.
Adaptive Cuise Control is a radar based system that can monitor the vehicle in front up to 600 ft and adjust the speed of the vehicle to keep it at a preset distance behind the lead vehicle. This is useful in fog and rain conditions. The system measures distance as a function of speed and can monitor the traffic ahead while ignoring stationary objects like road signs and telephone poles.
Active City Stop (Auto breaking)
Active City Stop is designed to mitigate and in certain circumstances, avoid low-speed rear-end collisions.
Ford introduced the industry’s first ever inflatable seat belts. The inflated belts will distribute the crash force across the occupant’s torso 5 times more than a traditional belt so that victims will not be wounded by the seat belt itself.
|The inflatable seatbelt|
Looking back at the list of features, we cannot deny that cars are so smart nowadays. To an extent I wonder if the movies AI or Transformers would come true. Ford is envisioning cars that would communicate with each other. What if you were chasing for time but your car wouldn’t allow you to accelerate because your blood pressure is detected to be increasing? What if you wanted to overtake a car but your automobile would not allow you to because it detected that the car in front is more powerful and you will never be able to overtake it? Will cars in the future deny simple driving rights in the future?
|How do I look in a Ford|
Smart cars are so high-tech nowadays and we are becoming so confident that accidents can be avoided that we have forgotten about the cost of repair if, one day, one of the features are damaged. Damaged by perhaps a group of students who hates you? Will our children forget what is a blind-spot depending too much on the indicators? Will we be too dependent on technology for safety that we forget how to drive? Will we forget how to park a car because now with the auto-parking feature, we can actually put lipstick while the car does everything for us right? (Come to think of it, it can become a time saving opportunity!)
|I pledge to drive safe|
At the end of the tour, I signed the pledge wall to promise to drive safe to seal off the experience. Go and find out yourselves and let the smart cars impress you!
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