For the first time Ford has brought the Go Further event to the African continent as Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) showed off four new models that are destined for African shores at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.
Ford hosted 1000 media, stakeholders, suppliers and VIPs from Africa and beyond to outline the company’s vision for “driving growth in existing markets on the continent as well as entering new ones.”
In total, 17 vehicles will be launched or refreshed, including the new Focus, Fusion, Ranger XL-Plus, Transit and Tourneo Connect and of course, Mustang.
Of course, I was interested in the tech “under the hood” after experiencing first hand the Ford tech at Mobile World Congress.
I am glad to see that the technology showcased was not theoretical and has made it into “real” vehicles.
Mark Kaufman, VP of Marketing Sales and Service Ford Sub Saharan Africa outlined Ford’s Blueprint for Mobility. This includes systems such as:
- Traffic Jam Assist that will take care of traffic jam condition and will start and stop the car as you crawl through the gridlock.
- Car-to-Car and Car-to-Infrastructure is a system that “talks” to other cars to identify hazardous road conditions and hidden obstacles in the road ahead.
- ECG Heart Rate Monitoring Seat which will record the driver’s heart-rate which driver is able to review with their doctor and in case of unusual activity detected there might be a “take over mode”
- FULL Parking Assist will park the car and bring it out again all from a remote control without you being in the car.
- Obstacle Avoidance will warn driver and if no response will take over to avoid a crash.
The above is tech that is “coming soon” but here is a list of the tech that is available in Ford vehicles right now:
EcoBoost is a turbo direct-injection technology that significantly improves power and fuel economy while reducing emissions. Globally, EcoBoost is offered in 80%of Ford’s nameplates, and 30% of vehicles available in South Africa. By the end of 2015 this will increase to 33% in South Africa and 55% in SSA.
SYNC allows the driver to have access to various features of their phones and digital music players, using only voice commands.
SYNC responds to and recognises up to 150 different voice commands without training, and can cope with variations in accents and vocabulary, making it easier to access more content by voice. SYNC can also read aloud incoming SMS text messages from compatible mobile phones. It works with a wide variety of digital music players, including iPod® and USB flash drives.
The system automatically updates phonebook entries, while audio files can be browsed by genre, artist, album, song and playlist using simple voice commands. SYNC gives drivers voice control over certain features, including the ability to dial names in address books or dictate phone numbers.
The system can also bond with up to 12 phones, and store 1,000 contacts per paired device. You can have more than one source working at one time with SYNC – your MP3 player plugged into your USB port, your Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone streaming, or auxiliary line-in.
SYNC with AppLink™
This enhanced version of Ford’s smart, in-car technology will allow drivers to control certain, supported smartphone applications, on Android and iOS platforms. This includes issuing voice commands that can then control functionality of the application. The programme is still being evaluated by Ford for introduction in South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa.
An evolution of the SYNC platform, SYNC 2 gives users a large, full-colour touch screen, two USB ports, and an SD card slot, making for a next-generation experience. SYNC 2 retains SYNC’s voice control features for controlling mobile phones and advanced control of music playback; additional voice commands are also present, giving drivers more control than before.
Future Ford models that will offer SYNC 2 include: Mustang, Fusion, and new Focus.
MyKey is a safety technology aimed at parents who wish to let their children also make use of their car. The system allows parents to programme a maximum allowed speed for the car, as well as preventing the stability and traction control systems from being disabled. It is also possible to limit the volume for the entertainment system, or to disable it completely until a seatbelt has been coupled. MyKey is available on the Ford Fiesta, and will be available on the new Ford Focus in 2015.
Active City Stop
Ford’s Active City Stop continuously monitors the road ahead in city driving conditions at speeds of up to 30km/h. Should a driver find themself distracted Active City Stop will avoid an accident by applying brakes to avoid hitting another vehicle.
Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keeping Aid
Ford vehicles are not only aware of what’s in front of them, but also around them. Lane Keeping Aid (LKA) uses an array of sensors to help drivers stay informed about those things not directly ahead.
LKA uses cameras to detect lane markings and will warn a driver, through a vibration in the steering wheel, that they are straying from their lane. If a driver fails to respond the power steering system and stability control system work in tandem to gently correct the vehicle’s course.
Blind spot Information System
Blind spot Information System (BLIS) uses sensors to keep an eye on the one area where drivers can’t: their blind spots. When another vehicle is in a driver’s blind spot BLIS illuminates a warning light in the respective wing mirror, alerting the driver to another vehicle’s presence.
A future version of BLIS will also include Cross-Traffic Alert. This system will aid drivers when reversing out of parking spots. Using the same sensors as BLIS, this will let drivers know when it’s safe to pull out of a parking spot.
Active Park Assist
Select Ford models are equipped with parking aids that assist drivers in pulling into ever-tricky parallel parking spots. Active Park Assist measures the length of a parking spot along the roadside and provides a driver with instructions on when to stop, engage reverse gear, and apply the accelerator. Throughout this process the vehicle will steer itself into the parking spot – but always leaves the driver in full control should they need to intervene.
Perpendicular Park Assist
A future version of Active Park Assist, to be introduced next year, will support perpendicular parking spots. Using the same technology as parallel Active Park Assist it will aid drivers when it comes to performing alley-docking manoeuvres in tighter parking lots.
Driver Fatigue Alert system
Sensors inside the cabin let the vehicle assess driver performance, and thus fatigue. Sensors monitor a driver over a period of time as well as their inputs and the vehicle’s positioning on the road. When signs of drowsiness are recorded the Driver Alert system will chime a warning to ensure the driver is paying attention. If the behaviour continues the system will display a warning that can only be dismissed by stopping the vehicle and opening the driver’s door – an action that could signify a driver change.
Rear Inflatable Seatbelts
Ford’s award-winning Rear Inflatable Seatbelt system will be introduced on the Ford Fusion in 2015. This new safety system for rear-seat passengers is designed to create a protective barrier between seatbelts and their bodies, thus distributing the crash force evenly over a larger area. Rear Inflatable Seatbelts are also compatible with child safety seats and boosters seats.