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Who’s the safest of them all?

John Day

John Day

Posted Feb 8, 2012
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Which vehicle offers the greatest number of safety features? By that I mean systems like adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection, or lane keeping. Safe to say it’s one that’s well beyond the reach of the average car buyer. But features like these are moving down-market rather quickly, so what moderately priced vehicle has the greatest number of safety features?

One candidate – and we’ll have to consider this a moving target – is the 2013 Ford Fusion (Mondeo outside North America). Pricing and availability have yet to be announced, but the car is said to have a lane keeping system, blind spot information system (BLIS®) with cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control. The launch package also says it has active park assist and auto start/stop technology, neither of which are safety systems but both of which are cool, plus MyFord Touch®.

The lane keeping system includes a forward-facing camera behind the inside rearview mirror that “looks” at the lane lines on the road ahead to ensure that the car is on its proper course. If erratic lane-keeping is detected, possibly due to driver drowsiness, the system will alert the driver. If the car gets too close to a lane marker a steering wheel vibration will alert the driver. If that’s not enough the system will apply steering pressure to get the car back on course.

Sensors in the Fusion’s rear quarter-panels can detect traffic in a driver’s blind spot and provide  audible and visual warnings. Cross-traffic alert warns the driver of oncoming traffic while backing out of a parking space with obstructed views, say, between two large vans.

The adaptive cruise control system relies on forward-looking radar to slow the Fusion when it gets too close to traffic ahead.

These won’t be standard features and it will be interesting to see how much they add to the price of the car and how many customers opt for the additional safety. It is a start, though, and we hope to see more such features soon.

auto start/stop, blind spot detection, active park assist, Ford Mondeo, lane keeping system

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John DayJohn Day recently launched John Day’s Automotive Electronics News (johndayautomotivelectronics.com) to provide news and feature coverage of the automotive electronics industry. Earlier he wrote for Auto Electronics magazine, Auto E-lectronics, EE Times, and other business and engineering publications. Visit John Day

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