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Top-end Fords will be watching your rear

Blind-spot radar comes to wing mirrors

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Ford will offer blind-spot-checking radar using part of the 24GHz spectrum on US models starting early next year, though cheapskates might opt for the wing mirror with a bent corner instead.

Both options will be available, with the modified "Blind Spot Mirror" being a standard feature on Lincoln and Mercury models. Ford claims the innovation has never been seen before, though in Europe, the Vaxhall Zafira wing mirrors feature something remarkably similar.

More innovative is Ford's radar system, which operates on 24GHz - an amber light appears on the wing mirror if there's a vehicle on the blind spot on that side. The "Cross Traffic Alert with Blind Spot Monitoring System" also looks sideways when reversing, from the back corners of the car, and alerts the driver if there's a car approaching.

The radar won't be a standard feature, but will be an option from early 2009. Ford reckons that an ageing population finds craning their neck around to look in all directions increasingly difficult, so having an audible alert makes sense even though it's only going to spot other cars, not wandering pedestrians.

Slightly worryingly, 76 per cent of drivers testing the improved wing mirrors found their confidence increased, which might be a good thing, but equally well might not.

24GHz is reserved just about everywhere for Short Range Radar, so the system should be legal to use anywhere you can buy a Ford, though the company won't be drawn on when we can expect to see such high-tech assistance on this side of the pond. ®

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