2011 Ford Focus
Review With Ford’s consumer research showing that drivers regard its cars as fun to drive and reliable to own but not particularly hi-tech, it’s playing the technology card heavily with the third-generation Focus. The new car comes loaded with sort of driver assistance kit that just a few years ago would only have been found on a high-end Mercedes.
Ford's third-gen Focus: packed with technology
What we're talking about here is a long list of driver aids with names like Low Speed Safety, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Aid, Traffic Sign Recognition, Adaptive Cruise Control and Parking Assist all of which take data feeds from a camera that sits in front of the rear-view mirror; side-, rear- and forward-looking radars; and side-mounted ultrasonic detectors.
In fact, with its 360° sensor array, the new Focus probably has a clearer understanding about what’s going on around it at any given moment than many drivers have.
Ford boasts that Parking Assist can get the Focus into a gap only 20 per cent longer than the car itself. I’d be inclined to agree with that, it certainly got it into spaces I would have been reluctant to try and requires nothing more from the driver than control of the clutch, brakes and throttle.
The steering is handled entirely automatically once the ultrasonic detectors have found a space on the left-hand side of the road. Not grabbing the wheel mid-manoeuvre takes some self-discipline - once you touch the wheel the system goes off in a huff and leaves you to sort things out.
Next page: Driver's sidekick
The underlying technology is actually called Microsoft Windows Embedded Automotive, which could be enough to strike terror into the hearts of some people. Which is possibly the reason I've only ever heard the final product referred to as Ford Sync, certainly for as long as Leo Laporte has had them as a sponsor on his network.
As for this bit...
"To prevent the system mistaking deliberate lane changes for accidental meandering the indicators cancel the system."
...forget add-on packages, that should be a standard feature on ALL cars. It might just discourage all those selfish cocks who think it's OK to change lanes at the last second without indicating or checking their blind spot.
If that works, the next step is a system that won't let a driver leave a roundabout until they've signalled their intent to other road users. We can't all be Derren fucking Brown you know. Some of us need a visible CLUE as to what you might be going to do next.
RE: Of course not.
"The Focus will actually make you indicate before changing lanes - can't be having that!"
That'll be why you won't see this technology on a BMW or Audi. As we all know, the indicator lenses on those cars are for styling purposes only.
(if they had bulbs in there I'm sure we'd sometimes see them used by the drivers)
Of course not.
The Focus will actually make you indicate before changing lanes - can't be having that!
(Mine's the one hanging next to the crash helmet.)