Pre-Collision Assist on Ford vans

Pedestrians today are distracted by smartphone games, messaging, and videos when they cross the road. Now Ford is introducing technology that enables vans to detect people in the road, and automatically apply the brakes if the driver does not respond to warnings.

 First developed for passenger cars including the Ford Mondeo, Pedestrian Detection processes information from a radar located in the bumper, and a windshield-mounted camera; while a database of “pedestrian shapes” enables the system to distinguish people from roadside scenery and objects such as trees and road signs.

Now available for Transit and Transit Custom vans, Pedestrian Detection technology can even predict when people may stray from the pavement and into the path of an oncoming vehicle. It is the first time that the technology has been made available for commercial vehicles of this size.

“It only takes a split second for a delivery driver to check an address – but that can be just the moment when an unwary pedestrian steps into the street,” said Gregor Allexi, active safety engineer, Ford of Europe. “In cases like this, Pedestrian Detection technology can help to avoid an accident, or reduce its severity.”

The emergency braking system – called Pre-Collision Assist – functions in a series of stages. If the system detects a pedestrian and determines that a collision has become imminent, the driver will first receive an audible alarm and visual warning in the instrument cluster.

Should the driver fail to respond, the system then shortens the time required to apply the brakes by reducing the gap between brake pads and discs. If there is still no response from the driver, the brakes are applied automatically and the vehicle speed is reduced.