Press Release :
DEARBORN, Mich., Nov. 11 – With a focus on accident prevention, Ford Motor Company is developing safety technologies that warn when a vehicle wanders into another lane and even apply the brakes if an accident is imminent. These technologies will be featured on the Mercury Meta One, Ford’s most advanced scientific research concept ever displayed at an auto show.
Much of the science of automobile safety has focused on passive restraints, or how to protect occupants during a crash. Ford is researching and applying active safety measures in production vehicles and concepts designed with the intention to prevent some accidents from occurring.
One of these technologies, Ford’s exclusive Roll Stability Control, will be on more than one-half million Ford Motor Company SÚVs by the end of 2005.
Únlike any other system in the world, Ford’s patented Roll Stability Control features roll-rate sensing and stability enhancing capability – offering assistance to the driver in maintaining vehicle control during extreme maneuvers. Ford also announced that the 2006 15-passenger E-Series wagon will feature the technology.
At Detroit’s North American International Auto Show in January, Ford Motor Company’s Mercury Meta One concept showcases two additional active safety technologies with promise: Lane Departure Warning, and Collision Mitigation by Braking.
Ford’s Lane Departure Warning System is a technology in development that could help prevent a driver from unintentionally leaving his lane.
Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
Ford’s Lane Departure Warning is a mechanized vision system designed to recognize lane markings and a vehicle’s lateral position to those markings. It can provide a visual, audible and/or haptic (vibrating) warning to the driver if the vehicle departs from a distinguishable travel lane without activation of the appropriate turn signal. In the concept car, a right lane departure triggers a vibration to the right side of the seat; a left lane departure spurs vibration of the left side of the seat.
In Lane Departure Warning, vehicle position is evaluated by a camera system mounted behind the windshield that measures the lateral distance from the camera’s center line to the left and right lane markings. The system works during the day or at night while headlights are in use. Naturally, the system does not warn the driver if the turn signals are used before changing lanes. The system is still under development for conditions without clear lane markings and overall system reliability.
Ford’s Collision Mitigation by Braking system is a technology in development that could help reduce speed in a frontal collision.
Collision Mitigation by Braking (CMbB)
Ford Motor Company’s Research and Advanced Engineering group, in cooperation with researchers at the Volvo Safety Center, developed Mercury Meta One’s Collision Mitigation by Braking or CMbB system to demonstrate how crash severity can be reduced. The system uses sensors that gauge an impending frontal collision and amplify the driver’s braking and then automatically apply additional brake pressure to further reduce the vehicle’s speed at impact.
Depending on relative speed and other factors, every mile per hour that a vehicle is slowed before impact reduces the energy of a crash.
CMbB applies automatic braking when it determines with certainty that a collision with another vehicle is unavoidable in both high and low speed situations. Importantly, the function assumes the driver has ultimate authority, and it will not interfere with any potential evasive maneuver initiated by the driver.
Ford’s CMbB pre-crash sensors consist of a camera and radar to sense vehicles on the road ahead and an electronic control unit (ECÚ), which determines whether a collision is imminent based on the position, speed and direction of other vehicles. Úsing estimates of collision threat and driver intent, the CMbB system provides driver warning and enhanced brake control when needed. Depending on speed and road factors, the braking can automatically reduce vehicle speed by five miles per hour or more before an impact. The radar and camera systems are under development so that the system works reliably in heavy rain, fog and other adverse driving conditions.
‘Even a few mph reduction at impact can make a difference,’ says Priya Prasad, Ford Technical Fellow, Safety Research and Development. ‘The amount of energy at impact is a strong function of speed, so even a slight reduction in speed offers a significant reduction in force.’
From Concept to Real World
Ford has unveiled a number of advanced safety concepts at recent auto shows and later migrated them to production including:
BeltMinder – a system that uses warning chimes to remind drivers to buckle up
Personal Safety System – a comprehensive suite of safety features including crash severity sensors, seat weight sensors and dual-stage air bags
Ford’s Rollover Safety Canopy – a system using side curtain air bags that senses a rollover and keeps the air curtain inflated for up to 6 seconds
About the Mercury Meta One Concept
Meta One is more than a safety concept alone. Its name is derived from the Greek word ‘meta,’ meaning ‘transcends’ or ‘goes beyond.’ In the case of the Mercury Meta One concept, the name connotes the personality of the concept, which transcends the ordinary and the expected in a passenger vehicle. Not only does Meta One foretell the design vision for Mercury’s future and suggest possibilities for future safety innovation, it also presents a world-first advanced powertrain plus enhanced electronics and personalization features.
Meta One stretches the distinct sophistication of Mercury’s design DNA. The brand’s contemporary look is evident on the new Monterey minivan, Mariner SÚV and Montego sedan.
Mercury will build a new crossover vehicle in 2007. Meta One explores adaptation of the Mercury design DNA to a crossover and gives a hint of what such a product could represent for the brand. A sketch is being released today. The concept vehicle and all of its advanced features will be unveiled at the 2005 North American International Auto Show in January.
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Source: Mercury Press Release

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