Named as Continental Irish Compact Family Car of the Year 2012, the new Ford Focus has become the first car to receive four Euro NCAP advanced safety rewards after its driver alertand forward alert technologies were honoured this week.
The rewards come a month after the new Ford Ranger achieved an historic first by becoming the only pickup to receive a maximum five star safety rating from Euro NCAP. Ranger also achieved the highest score recorded by Euro NCAP for pedestrian protection.
“At Ford Motor Company we are committed to providing outstanding levels of safety for vehicle occupants, and it is immensely gratifying to have received two more Euro NCAP advanced rewards with the new Ford Focus,” said Stephen Odell, chairman and CEO of Ford of Europe.
Euro NCAP advanced rewards were introduced in 2010 to recognize car manufacturers that make available new safety technologies. Ford is one of only two manufacturers to hold four of these rewards and the only manufacturer to achieve this with one product.
Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP general secretary, said: “As part of Euro NCAP’s mission to promote important innovations in safety, we are rewarding Ford for its driver alert and forward alert systems on the Focus, making the car the first that offers four rewarded technologies.
“Seeing a C-segment volume seller like Focus rewarded for various technologies clearly shows where Ford and the automobile industry is moving in Europe. Confidence is growing that driver assistance functions save lives and reduce injuries, the rewards emphasise the benefits for consumers.”
It is estimated 1,300 people a year die on Europe’s roads as a result of driver fatigue. Ford’s award-winning driver alert system is designed to detect tired driver behaviour, using advanced camera technology and on-board sensors to evaluate vigilance levels.
The system monitors the vehicle’s position relevant to lane markings using a forward facing, windscreen mounted camera. It also communicates with the car’s on-board sensor to detect erratic movements.
Using this information, the system constantly computes how vigilant the driver is, and presents this rating via a display in the instrument cluster. If it detects the driver is fatigued and needs to rest, it will advise him/her, first with a soft warning and then with a harder warning.
“Driver fatigue can affect anyone,” Ford engineer Margareta Nieh said. “When a driver becomes drowsy they tend to drift off line as they lose concentration and they might make sudden corrective steering inputs. Our driver alert system is designed to detect these erratic driving movements and warn the driver in a timely manner.”
Ford’s forward alert accident warning system uses radar technology to scan the road ahead for slowing traffic. If it detects a braking, slower moving, or recently stopped vehicle in front and it determines that a collision is likely, the system alerts the driver with an audible chime and by flashing a warning symbol in the instrument cluster. If the driver fails to brake immediately the system triggers another function, brake support.
Driver alert and forward alert are currently available as optional extras on new Focus, Mondeo, S-MAX, and Galaxy vehicles.