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March 17, 2020

Ford tech steers vehicles clear of ditches and drops

Ford has introduced new technology to help make rural driving easier. Its new Road Edge Detection scans the road ahead and can gently steer the vehicle back on track when needed.

By Olly Wehring

Ford has introduced new technology to help make rural driving easier. Its new Road Edge Detection scans the road ahead and can gently steer the vehicle back on track when needed.

Designed for use on rural roads at speeds of 45-70mph, the system uses a camera located below the rearview mirror to monitor road edges 50m (150 feet) in front of the vehicle and 7m (21 feet) to the side.

Where a paved road becomes a soft verge, gravel hard shoulder or grass, the system provides gentle steering support as required to prevent the vehicle from drifting off the carriageway.

The system features an advanced algorithm, added to the automaker's existing lane keeping aid, which determines when there are clear structural changes from the road to the area beside the road.

It can also provide steering support on marked roads when the lane marking is obscured or hidden by snow, leaves or rain.

If the driver is still close to the edge following initial steering support, the system vibrates the steering wheel, to prompt the driver to steer. At night, the system uses the illumination from the headlights and functions as effectively as during the day, Ford claims.

Road edge detection as part of LKA is standard on the European Focus, Kuga and Puma and will be part of the expanding driver assistance technologies being rolled out to new Ford vehicles.  

Ruediger Kieneke, Ford driver assistance and safety electronics engineer, said: "Rural roads can be every bit as challenging for drivers as urban streets especially for those who may be unfamiliar with their route. Road edge detection helps alleviate one concern to make journeys more comfortable and easier."

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