back to article Ford cars to gain prang-preventing radar rigs

Ford is to build radar into some of next year's cars in order to prevent (hopefully) drivers bumping into things. Dubbed "Collision Warning with Brake Support", the system sends out radio waves. If a rebounding signal reveals that the relative speeds of the car and the object in front indicate an impact, a buzzer sounds in the …

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Bronze badge
Dead Vulture

A little research would have revealed the Volvo XC60

has already got this technology (see http://www.channel4.com/4car/rt/volvo/xc60/25260/7).

OK, I think Ford still own Volvo but the point still stands that this has already been done and is in production, as is the "intelligent" cruise control.

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Anonymous Coward

Smart Keys

Instead of teaching your teenagers to drive responsibly, just take responsibility away from them. That'll improve road saftey no end. Though I could see the humour in quietly reprogramming someone elses key so they couldn't do more than 10MPH.

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Ash
Joke

I have my own collision warning system

Eyes.

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Silver badge
Stop

I'm confused

Ford's diagram clearly depicts a New Mini fitted with the device approaching a Ford Focus. Is Ford planning on rolling out the system to all it's competitors in the hope that the ensuing litigation ("The car failed to break for me") bankrupts them?

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Oh great

How many Fordtards will now rely on this system? Just as most people now rely totally on ABS rather than skill and judgement. Will we see more people tailgating? "But officer the bingly-binglies didn't go off; so I was safe!"

If people could drive we wouldn't need these gadgets. make the tests hard, bring in retesting, get the morons off the roads. Less cars = less pollution. Less drivers means a greater demand for decent public transport, less wear and tear on roads. It's all win-win-win-win.

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Not exactly new

Sounds exactly like the systems on the Volvo XC60. Which is out now I think. And isn't Volvo still owned by Ford?

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Silver badge

Lawsuits...

Some dumbass american, perhaps the same guy who put his winibego (spelling probably wrong there) on cruise control and went into the back to make a cuppa, will probably sue Ford when he slams into the back of someone. "But I thought it would stop for me".

I agree with AC above, get the eejits off the road (like the guy who pulled out of a junction without looking a few weeks ago, forcing me to try to avoid him, drop my bike, and watch him drive off) and we wouldnt need these gadgets. With the added bonus of reduced polution.

Better still, bring in "Darwins Law": If you do something so stupid you should have been killed, you get executed.

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Stop

No

For me, this would be a good reason NOT to buy a ford.

As the driver, and therefore the person legally responsible for the operation of the car, I don't want a computer to override what I am telling the car to do. I once had a bad experience with the Mercedes "Brake Assist System" which decided to slam on full braking even though I only touched the pedal lightly.

The best way to prevent accidents is to train drivers better, not to take control away from them.

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Re: Not exactly new

...and the Honda CRV.

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Stop

@AC 10:42

You are 100% right, all these "safety" gadgets remove the responsiblilty from the driver and increase their false sense of security.

I think it's kind of funny that on one hand you have all these "conveniences" removing thought from everyday life and on the other there a lot of complaints about not wanting a nanny state. For instance, just look at all the muppets who put petrol in their diesel cars screaming for the manufacturers to take them by the hand and make it so they can't make the mistake. I'd ban these bozos from ever driving a car again, if the don't have the presence of mind on the forecourt what they hell are they doing driving?

Okay, slightly differenct from a nanny state but you get the idea.

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Stop

Money Money Money

It's stage one of the next PPP initiative. The gadget will ship with the alarm set to 60m spacing on motorways, and then the government will install safety cameras that issue tickets to anyone driving closer than 70m from the car in front. The money will come rolling in, with a 50:50 split...

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Anonymous Coward

Corners

I can maybe appreciate how something like this might work on nice wide and straight american highways.

How on earth can this translate to the UK? I can imagine it now, driving down one of the various country lanes on the way to work and a car is coming the other way around the bend ahead.

How does the system know if you are about to negotiate a tight bend or drive down a road that is as wide as your axle?

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Ed
Alert

Yes learn to drive but

Yes learn to drive but...

There are always going to be butt munching morons on the road...

Perhaps the only way to stop them is to make the car tell them they are being a butt munching moron and then if they do not respond take control of the car from them....

I would be happy to see the fools tail gating me scream at their dash because the car slows down by its self.... mind you i would be happier if a big red idiot light lit up on top of there car so other drivers would know to avoid them.

LOL

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Thumb Up

luddites

All drivers make mistakes, even ones as perfect as us.

If el reg had been hear when ABS was introduced you'd all be complaining about how it took away control, how people who couldn't pump the pedal shouldn't drive and so on.

You'd probably be saying the same thing about automatic gears, cruise control, lane deviation warning, syncromesh gears (so you don't have to double de clutch) and so on.

This isn't a system that breaks for you, but it might stop you being rear ended by a mondeo next year. It's a good thing, as would be a car that could drive itself and completely avoid all accidents.

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Joke

I ha@ I have my own collision warning system

Wife..

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Stop

Save it for somebody else...

I heard all of the same B.S. arguments about anti-lock brakes, too.

The sad fact is that 80% of humanity is dumb. We have to deal with that.

I would dearly love to have stringent licensing laws in the USA, as is, say, Germany. Unlike most of the rest of the world, people here think driving is a right, not a privilege. They also think it's their right to text, drink a Big Gulp soda, eat a burrito, and apply makeup, simultaneously, while driving.

I deal with the "Anti-Destination League" every day during my commute. The number of slack-jawed, mouth breathers is astonishing. Operating their vehicle is the last thing on their minds. Situational awareness? None to be found.

Make the cars as intelligent as possible, please, so one of these dumbass drivers here has one less avenue to kill me through stupidity.

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Anonymous Coward

Lane discipline

"...our experience of US drivers' attitude to lane discipline..."

US rules about lanes are different to the ones we use over here. There, you're supposed to stick in one lane, the one thats' going at your speed and only change lanes to get to exits. Undertaking is expected and allowed, like on the variable speed limit sections of some motorways over here in Blighty. "Weaving" is not.

Of course, I think our system is better, having grown up with it. Or it would be if the world wasn't full of numpties who can't grasp "keep left unless overtaking". [mutter]

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Agree with 'luddites'

"It's a good thing, as would be a car that could drive itself and completely avoid all accidents."

Ah the self drive car. Now that would be cool. Given the lengthy commute these days I would be far happier reading a book or playing a game on a laptop rather than seethe at all the idiocy on the roads. Myself and all the rest of the 'perfect' drivers being included in that idiocy of course.

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Rob
Alert

RE:Save it for somebody else...

Completely agree, the more safety gadgets in the car the less likely one of the early morning death brigade will kill me because they don't pay attention.

I have no problem with a 2hr drive to work in the morning, but the other drivers on the road scare the crap out of me and their complete lack of concentration. To the point where I have little sympathy for the roadkill I drive past that has just added another hour onto my journey.

Makeup can be done at home, calls can be taken on a bluetooth headset, how do we deal with retards that have been given a license to drive though.

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Silver badge

80% - you're being kind

Personally, I am impatient to get to the point where we have cars that drive themselves from start to finish.

I dream of getting into my car, ordering the destination, and sitting back with a book and a drink.

When we're there, call me.

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Boffin

Just one thing to remember

These systems (collision avoidance/adaptive cruise etc.) don't work if any kind of corner is involved.

When cornering the radar is locked out to avoid it triggering from oncoming cars in the other lane - if driving in a straight line they aren't within the area of the radar beam, but drive around a corner and they are and would provide false returns.

Now the system being enabled and disabled isn't necessarily obvious to the user. And it's quite likely with this kind of feature that people would start to rely on it as per ABS. So it may come as a shock one day when they hit something because the road isn't straight.

The other risk of course is that, as discovered by the person who set up a certain S-Class demo, the system only works if you remember to turn it on...

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The trouble is

that if it doesn't let you drive the regulation 0.2s behind the vehicle in front at 85 in the outside lane it will be so annoying that it'll just get turned off!

Does it take road conditions into account when calculating safe stopping distances?

Does it see in front of the car in front?

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Anonymous Coward

@"A little research would have revealed the Volvo XC60"

Don't forget, Ford own's Volvo !

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Happy

Ms. N. Phormashun

"When cornering the radar is locked out to avoid it triggering from oncoming cars in the other lane - if driving in a straight line they aren't within the area of the radar beam, but drive around a corner and they are and would provide false returns."

Sorry, this is wrong. I know, because I work on these things. The radar is always on. It's easy to tell if a car is coming at you-- the closing velocity is higher than your own velocity. The radar sees all, knows all.

I've been working on safety devices in cars for about 20 years, and I hate them all as unnecessary government interference. However, they do make driving cars safer. I made sure my wife's car had as many safety gadgets in it as I could afford.

I know that Reg readers are perfect drivers, never distracted, never on their phones, never even changing radio stations while they drive. And while it's true that a majority of people believe themselves to be above-average drivers (statistics-- go figure), the average driver is a moron, so the bar is set pretty low. It's because of all these other drivers that we need these devices, and why I still have a job. You should be praying that other drivers have these devices in their cars.

As I get much, much older, I appreciate these safety devices more. If I could afford it, I would have adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and blindspot detection on my car. They may not help me lap public toll roads like the Nürburgring any faster, but for that one time that I need it, they'll be worth it.

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Alert

BTW - That "Mini"

Is a new Ford Flex crossover.

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Anonymous Coward

already implemented

this isn't anything new...its already built in to the new Mercedes S-Class...called Radar Guided Cruise control or something...it was on Top Gear...last year!

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Rob

@ AC "already implemented "

Yeah, and on the TopGear thing they forgot to switch it on, which meant it slammed into the back of the car in front which was hilarrrrrrrrrrrious.

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Thumb Down

Hooray a new tool to make my commute more interesting

So now I am going to have to watch out for the nice people in fords who now do not have to use their brakes, how lovely! Cant wait to see one of these flipped over on the side of the road cause the computer decided to slam on the brakes on a corner when they get cut off by someone else is a small cheap car that can do with out this tech. Anyway time for a new job where I can walk or take the bus or something. Too many miles on my truck as is

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Bronze badge

Radar band

Do these operate in the same band as police radar? If so, they could ause two opposite -- yet equally amusing -- outcomes:

1 - Since every nimrod's radar detector will be constantly going off with no way of knowing when it's a police speed check, maybe they'll actually SLOW THE FUCK DOWN.

- or -

2 - All you'll have to do to get a speeding ticket thrown out is to claim a false positive unless the officer is willing to swear under oath that there were absolutely no late-model Fords on the road at that time polluting their signal.

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Thumb Down

And with the service monkeys over here...

I don't know about the other side of the pond, but over here in the USA, the car service "techs" are seriously shit. ABS is already beyond their capability to fix, as they were unable to fix my Camaro's system, and it eventually locked up the brakes just for the hell of it and put me into a guardrail. There's no way in hell they will be able to deal with this.

I have no problem with this system when it's working, but when it breaks then a) it's probably going to get someone killed and b) you won't be able to get it fixed

Oh yeah, and what about pedestrians? Can it reliably see 'lil Suzy run out in front of the car? And can it distinguish the aforesaid snotmonkey from a squirrel or a cat? Is it going to lock up the brakes every time a trash bag floats up?

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Happy

NO THANKS

If this is another idiot light and interferes with my driving (like the stupid "you're low on tyre pressure" things or the oils pressure "you're so low you just burned up your engine" lights....erm, no thanks.

@rob - how do we deal with retards...? answer: guns!

@ed - butt munching morons.... ha ha...you owe me a keyboard

The only safety device I want to see is optimus prime picking up the numpties, giving their whole car a good shake, and slap them down off the side of the road to think about their bad behaviour. pictures please!

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Boffin

Re:Ms. N. Phormashun

Funny that, because the above functionality (inhibit when going around a corner) was how the system was described to me by the senior engineer at Ford responsible for running a recent major vehicle programme (or three) incorporating this feature.

I recognise what you say about discarding signals outside the velocity gate for the system, but even so the effectiveness of the system is reduced on corners - the return from actual targets of interest is lower and you have a much higher level of 'noise' from other traffic. Also you're having to guess that something fast *isn't* a problem, which could be considered a bit risky. At some point you have to decide that you can't trust the data and shut it all down. Certainly this is the case for the adaptive cruise, collision avoidance may be more tolerant.

Obviously if you have multiple emitters and receivers you can get a much better model of the environment and have a clearer idea of what's going on allowing full performance at all times, but every production system I've seen to date have been relatively basic. Maybe in the future they'll be better.

Or maybe people will just look where they're going and learn to drive.

There's also the small question of what happens when a system like this becomes more widespread, just think of all the stray signals you'd be getting!

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Everyone has bad days

>>>The sad fact is that 80% of humanity is dumb. We have to deal with that.<<<

Smart people and dumb people is not a black-and-white thing. Everyone has a bad day sometimes. I'm a safe-following-distance, paranoid-start-slowing-early kind of guy (so much so that my best friend can't stand it - but then he's a two-close-call-panic-stops-a-day kind of guy) and sometimes even I screw up - like the time I was making a repetitive suburban commute down some back roads and traffic stopped for no reason right in the middle of an intersection where it _never_ stopped before.

I wouldn't have minded an automatic system to have prevented me the embarrasssment of smacking the guy in front of me. Lucky for us luddites, we both happened to have cars with rubber-plated steel bumpers, and nothing was hurt. Face was still painfully red, though.

Frankly I hope everyone who follows me in rush hour traffic gets this safety feature. That's more likely than them stopping TXTing when traffic stops again.

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Re: When cornering the radar is locked out

There may be a lockout, but the problem is not necessarily a car coming the other way on a 2-way street.

At least when I saw the specs for the BMW adaptive cruise control 2 years ago, the problem was a corner when driving along a multi-lane motorway with all the cars in the same direction. This leads to two failure modes:

1. You're in the left hand lane, but a car in the right hand lane can appear directly ahead of you when approaching a left hand corner. And your car may then slow down incorrectly because of this car in the lane to your right, for example someone you're about to overtake. This is the case where a lockout might be needed.

2. You approach the same left hand corner in the left lane, and this system decides the car ahead (in the right hand lane!) is going fast enough. And you then go into the back of the car in your lane round the corner :( Oops.

Having said that, just because this system cannot catch all cases does not make it useless for some. The main thing is to avoid false positives and to make sure people know it's not a guarantee.

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Silver badge

Perception of safety is BAD BAD BAD

Safety features would be fine if people did not change their driving behaviour. However, people drive to a perceived level of risk.

Give them a raft of safety features and they feel safer and drive faster/ more aggressively/ with less attention to the road.

Preventing accidents is not just about driving well yourself, it is also about being vigilant and defensive to compensate for other muppets.

The safest thing to do is to constantly remind people that the road is a dangerous place and to be cautions. Fit airbags and safety belts for passengers, but the driver should feel no such safety. Instead put a steel spike in the centre of the steering wheel. Keep the bugger focused.

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Same arguments. Different technology...

Give me a brake!

A lot of the pissing and moaning on this article is pretty much the exact same things people were saying about ABS. Or electronic traction control. Or electronic stability systems. Or whatever...

Face it: ABS systems can stop a car better IN THE DRY than 95% of all drivers on the road. And it can do it better than about 99% of all drivers when the road is wet or otherwise degraded. Now, those percentages will drop SOME if you would actuallyput people in a braking test (vs. real world emergency stop situations) simply because they might actually be paying attention to the test.

But in the real world? The ABS doesn't get distracted at the worse possible moment, unlike the driver of the vehicle. The first systems were not perfect by any means, but they got better generation after generation until they are where they are now.

The same can be said for ETC and ESS. Hell, the stability systems can do things people simple CAN NOT DO because we activate ALL the brakes at each wheel at the same time. ESS doesn't have to do that.

So, will these new brake assists be perfect? Not likely. But they WILL get better and better with each generation until they are indeed able to do a much better job than most people most of the time.

Let's face it: People have proven themselves to be pretty stupid as a group. Because of our abilities to do incredibly stupid things while driving 3 ton vehicles at 120 kph, the engineers WILL develop better and better systems to save our asses and the asses of other unlucky people who happen to be on the same roadway. The lawyers WILL end up forcing this on us. They are already are.

It is just a matter of time before all of our cars are talking to each other and passing information about where they are, what direction they are heading, what types of input the drive is giving, road conditions, etc between themselves. Hopefully, they will actually be able to use this information to prevent accidents, but I suspect it will AT LEAST be used to automatically catch speeders by having our cars snitch on us.

And for those who say they will just make sure the car WON'T exceed they speed limit, I say WRONG! They make WAY too much money on speeding tax to let that baby go!

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Pirate

Bing Cyclist

"The sad fact is that 80% of humanity is dumb. We have to deal with that."

About time. Lets take their driving licences off them right now!

There is a positive side to this though.

All them pesky cyclists gonna get microwaved!

That should get the traffic moving.

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Only one word for those tailgaters...

Chaff!

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Stop

RE: A car to drive itself

If you want a car that drives itself... why don't you just take a train?

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Happy

Ford Radar

"Funny that, because the above functionality (inhibit when going around a corner) was how the system was described to me by the senior engineer at Ford responsible for running a recent major vehicle programme (or three) incorporating this feature."

Could be. S/He was probably talking about the Jaguar system. Curves can be an issue, as Mr. McIntyre points out with the BMW. Usually the system use information from the stability control to tell you that you are in a curve, and the radius of the curve. This lets it know which vehicles are in its lane and which aren't. Unfortunately, you only get this information when you're actually in the curve, and not before it.

However, there are ways to minimize this effect.

Besides, they (OEMs) don't make them, we (suppliers) do.

In any case, most systems do not turn off in a curve.

A couple of other asides:

- The picture of the Ford vehicle is a Flex, and not a Mini.

- Volvo is using lidar, not radar.

- Some OEMs use 24GHz, which is the same frequency as police radar in the States. Some radar detectors will pick this up. Lidar being used in some systems will be picked up by some lidar detectors as well. Heck, even LED brakelights set off some lidar detectors. Don't speed, and it's not an issue.

- Some use 77GHz, which is not an issue.

- Good luck trying to use the 24GHz as a police radar jamming device. Let me know how that turns out for you.

- My first boss suggested spikes on the steering wheel 20 years ago. It's still a good idea, but remember, people still get in accidents just sitting in traffic, minding their own business.

- With the way we have all seen people driving, FLYING CARS ARE A BAD IDEA. I still want one.

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Anonymous Coward

Adaptive Cruise Control

Jags have had adaptive cruise control for years... at least 2 (maybe even 3) years that I know of (having worked in a Jaguar dealership) in the old shape XK. Now, remind me again, who, until very recently, owned Jaguar? ;-)

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Coat

Make mandatory in reps cars

Huzzah !!!

tech comes down market

Pls fit in all reps Mondeos

and while we are at it -all Audis and BMW

which I always find welded to by bumper on the M25

as they weave in and out of traffic to gain another 30 feet.

I also want rear mounted paint guns, could any chop shop make them for me?

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