DEARBORN, Mich.– Ford Motor Co. has introduced post-impact emergency braking, leveraging its automatic emergency braking system, in the new 2020 Ford Edge, an in-house developed technology it will roll into additional models.
Chris Billman, global driver assist technologies manager, says that Ford research scientists sparked the automaker to develop the system after examining accident data that showed a frequency of accidents worsening after an initial impact. In two-lane-road accidents, for example, when there is a head on collision or one car hits a guardrail, cars are subject to secondary crashes.
Post-impact braking is achieved through software programming and engages after one of a few sensor readings signal the system–air-bag deployment, fuel-cutoff switch, collision detection. The system then brings the vehicle to a stop by engaging the emergency brake.
Ford works with numerous brake companies on its vehicles. Billman says this particular feature was developed in-house rather than coming off the shelf from a supplier.
Billman described the typical scenario that drive the development of post-impact braking. “You are driving a two lane highway on a divided highway. There is a vehicle coming at you that is trying to pass a vehicle on the other side. You veer into the guardrail to avoid the collision, and several sensors go off that detect and respond to the collision. The automatic brake system engaged, but now after the collision, it engages again to keep the car from rolling out of control.” Billman noted that it is not a sudden collision, but rather a gradual braking that takes a few seconds for the vehicle to come to a stop.
While it’s true that every accident is different, and braking a vehicle after an initial impact could theoretically leave a vehicle vulnerable for a second impact just as easily as it would help avoid a second impact, Ford believes the percentages for a better outcome outweigh the reverse result.
Post-impact braking is not offered standard on the Edge as part of Ford’s Co-PILOT360 suite of technologies, but will be offered, for now, as part of other packages on trim levels of the Edge, as well as forthcoming new models like Explorer, Aviator, Escape. It has also been made available on the global Ford Focus sedan, which is not offered in the U.S., as Ford is discontinuing the sale of sedans in North America.