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Ford takes a new view of SUV safety

Screen saver: Ford’s SUVs will be able to see around corners, thanks to a wide-angle camera mounted in the grille.

Territory replacement likely to get Ford’s 180-degree front and rear safety cameras

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Ford logo24 Jun 2015

A FORD Territory replacement might become the first Blue Oval vehicle in Australia to get Ford’s new camera technology that allows the driver to “see” around corners.

The company announced in the United States overnight that it plans to equip its global SUV range with the new device that gives a split-screen view to each side of the vehicle, enabling the driver to look to the left and right for approaching traffic, pedestrians or cyclists, even if the view from the driver’s seat is obscured.

Wide-angle lens cameras in the grille and tailgate of the vehicle beam the 180-degree view to the dashboard screen where, to prevent distortion, it is split into three views – one to the left, one to the right and a straight-ahead view in the middle.

The objective is to make driving safer when emerging on to a busy road from, say, a tight alley, driveway or garage, where a wall or other obstacle might block the driver’s view.

The system works from the grille camera when the vehicle is travelling in a forward gear, at up to 10km/h, and from the tailgate view when in reverse gear.

The company revealed that it plans to fit the system to all variants of its global SUV range by 2020. That includes the full-sized Explorer and mid-sized Edge made in both North America and China, and Europe’s all-new S-Max and Galaxy crossover vehicles.

There was no mention of the upcoming Australian-developed, Thai-built Everest on the list of vehicles to get the technology, but Ford says that in time, other Ford cars will get the system, along with rearview cameras that the company plans to make standard across the range.

The company says it is rolling out driver assist cameras on its cars at the rate of two million a year around the world.

Ford Australia is yet to announce which SUV will potentially replace the Territory which ends its production run next near when Ford closes its Australian manufacturing operation.

While most pundits suspect the Canadian-built Edge will fill the void, but as GoAuto has reported, Ford insiders say it is not a fait accompli.

A problem is that the North American Edge has only five seats – a major drawback in the family wagon market where seven-seat availability is a distinct advantage.

Ford’s Chinese-made Edge has a seven-seat configuration, but Ford Australia communications and public affairs director Wes Sherwood told GoAuto that the company had no plans to import any Chinese-made vehicles.

He commented that the new Everest would offer seven seats once the Ranger-based SUV arrives in the country in October.

However, Everest pricing starts at $54,990 plus on-road costs – a hefty ask for many families with several children.

An alternative to fill the gap might be the 2016 European Ford Galaxy people-mover that would be more affordable and yet still offer a family friendly seven seats.

The new-generation Galaxy – a stretched version of the S-Max – will be built in Spain from later this year, sitting on the same CD4 mid-sized vehicle platform as the Mondeo and Edge. A right-hand drive version is planned for Britain and Ireland.

Powered by the same EcoBoost petrol and TDCi diesel four-cylinder engines as the Mondeo, the Galaxy will also be offered with all-wheel drive in Europe.

If the Galaxy was added to the Australian line-up, it theoretically would compete with the Honda Odyssey that starts at $37,610, Kia Carnival from $41,490, Hyundai iMax from $38,290 and Toyota Tarago from $46,990.

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