Ford Explorer to feature curve control technology

Automaker Ford has revealed that its new curve control system – designed to help drivers maintain control of their vehicles when taking a curve too quickly – will debut as standard equipment on the 2011 Ford Explorer.

The system will also be offered on 90 per cent of the company’s North American crossovers, sport utilities, trucks and vans by 2015.

The technology senses when a driver is taking a curve too quickly – a situation found to contribute to about 50,000 crashes each year in the US – and rapidly reduces engine torque and applies four-wheel braking, slowing the vehicle by up to 10mph (16kph) in about one second.

’Too many accidents stem from drivers misjudging their speed going into curves and motorway off- and on-ramps,’ said Sue Cischke, Ford group vice-president of sustainability, environment and safety engineering. ’Ford’s curve control technology senses a potentially dangerous situation and reduces power and applies brakes more quickly than most drivers can react on their own.’

The patent-pending system works by measuring how quickly the vehicle is turning and comparing that with how quickly the driver is trying to turn. When the vehicle is not turning as much as the driver is steering – also known as ’pushing’ – the curve control activates, applying the precise amount of braking required on each wheel.

The curve control system uses sensors to measure roll rate, yaw rate, lateral acceleration, wheel speed and steering wheel angle, and runs calculations based on those inputs 100 times every second.

Curve control is one of several new driver-assist and safety technologies to be offered on the Explorer. Other technologies include adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake support, pressure-based airbag technology, inflatable rear seat belts and a four-wheel-drive terrain management system.