Saturday 3 December 2016

Ford system is key to safer driving for young and old

Published 04/12/2011 | 05:00

NEW technology coming down the line will make motoring safer for younger, and older, drivers. And there are hopes that when insurance companies evaluate the beneficial elements of Ford's SYNC technology, premiums will be reduced.

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Arriving in June in Fiesta and later in Focus models is MyKey, a system that allows parents to control safety features even though they are not in the car. With the key parents can programme the car to limit the speed to, say, 80kmh. This eliminates high-speed driving and reduces the possibility of an inexperienced driver losing control. The system also encourages fuel efficiency.

Also available on the MyKey system is a limiter on volume from the radio or iPod. There is also a seat belt reminder: failure to fasten seat belts mutes the entertainment system and replaces it with a constant warning sound which would make driving unbearable. Other features are an earlier low-fuel warning system and a programme that does not allow the Traction Control or ESP systems to be disengaged (no more wheelies) when the car is in motion.

The system is in operation in cars in the USA and is by all accounts accepted by young drivers, as they get to drive their parents' car.

For older drivers a new Heart Monitoring Seat is under joint test by Ford and the Technical University at Aachen in Germany. Sensors in the driver's seat monitor heart beat and set off a warning signal if heart trouble is detected. It ignores quickening pulse that may arise in traffic emergencies.

Also now in use in the USA and on the way here are inflatable rear seat belts, giving added protection to the torso and shoulder and inflating in a 40th of a millisecond.

Next year Ford plans to have an Emergency Assistance system developed that will link airbag deployment in the car to the SatNav and Bluetooth phone connection. This will indicate accident location to emergency services. It will also raise the alarm if the car's fuel system is shut off, as this could indicate a serious accident).

Martin Brennan

Sunday Independent

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