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Ford night driving tech detailed
Night moves: The Fiesta will be the first Ford to gain the pedestrian detection system that functions at night.
Pedestrian detection that works at night will show up on new-gen Ford Fiesta
17 March 2017
FORD of Europe is working to alleviate driver’s anxiety about colliding with a
person on the road at night by developing new pedestrian detection technology
that works in the dark.
The Blue Oval already uses pedestrian detection tech in some of its models, but
this the first time the system can function at night, and it will make its
production debut in the forthcoming new-generation Fiesta.
Ford says its system processes information from the radar that is housed in the
bumper and a windscreen-mounted camera, while a database of “pedestrian shapes”
allows the system to differentiate between people and other things such as
trees or road signs.
The camera – which Ford says operates faster than a cinema projector –
processes more than 30 snapshots per second, while a video live-feed and wide
viewing angle ensures that the system identifies pedestrians even in low light
and illuminated only by the headlights.
If a collision with a pedestrian is detected, the vehicle gives audible and
visual warnings and if the driver fails to respond, the brakes are
The car-maker showed off the technology last year when a Fusion hybrid
autonomous research vehicle drove with no headlights in complete darkness at
the Ford Arizona Proving Ground.
The technology was developed by a team who worked at night using life-sized
dummies that were moved into the path of vehicles on closed circuits, as well
as being tested on public roads in cities such as Amsterdam and Paris.
Ford developed the technology after conducting its own poll that found the
biggest concern for people driving at night was so called night blindness, or
the fear of hitting something or someone at night.
The poll of thousands of European drivers also found that 81 per cent of
drivers were scared to drive at night, which rose to 87 per cent for women. One
in five respondents said they were concerned about hitting a pedestrian at
Ford says that of the 408 pedestrian fatalities in the United Kingdom in 2015,
48 per cent happened between 6pm and 6am.
“We know some drivers find hitting the road at night a stressful experience,”
Ford of Europe active safety engineer Gregor Allexi said. “Especially driving
in towns and cities, pedestrians – sometimes distracted by mobiles – can
without warning step into the road, leaving even alert drivers very little time
to avoid an accident.
“Day and night, Pedestrian Detection is designed to help identify people
already in – or about to step into – the road ahead.”
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