US carmaker Ford is introducing new vehicle camera technology that can help see around corners even when drivers cannot, aiding in reducing driver stress and potentially averting accidents.
The new available split-view camera feature helps drivers see traffic and obstacles that enter the vehicle?s path from the side by displaying a 180-degree view of the area in front of or behind a vehicle.
Split view uses real-time video feeds from 1-megapixel wide-angle lens cameras in the grille and tailgate. A tri-panel display in the 8-inch screen helps customers understand quickly whether an obstacle is coming from either side or straight on. Split view is activated at the touch of a button and automatically shuts off when vehicle speed reaches 6.2 mph (10 kph).
Ford introduced split view on the 2015 Ford Edge and 2016 Explorer in the United States and China. It will be offered on nearly all Ford SUVs globally by 2020.
A tiny telescopic jet washer keeps the front camera clean on every vehicle with split view. Explorer also incorporates a washer for the rear camera.
Collaborating with Silicon Valley
At the same time, Ford said autonomous vehicle technology is another step closer to production at the company , moving from a research effort to an advanced engineering program.
Ford has appointed a director of autonomous vehicle development ? 29-year Ford veteran Randy Visintainer ? and created a global team to work on the advanced program.
Ford Research and Innovation Center (RIC) Palo Alto is working on the global Ford team to deliver the Ford Smart Mobility plan, which aims to take the company to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and big data.
?During the next five years, we will move to migrate driver-assist technologies across our product lineup to help make our roads safer and continue to increase automated driving capability,? said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president for global product development.
With the transition to advanced engineering, autonomous driving technology enters the second of three phases in the process of bringing a feature to market.
As an advanced engineering program, the team now is working to make the required sensing and computing technology feasible for production and continuing testing and refinement of algorithms.
Ford also announced that Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection technology, already available on Ford Mondeo in Europe, will be available in the United States next year on a Ford-brand vehicle. This continues Ford?s plan to roll out the feature on most Ford products globally by 2019.
Driver-assist features are part of the building blocks for increasingly capable semi-autonomous technology, as Ford enhances the sensors, algorithms, and actuators in vehicles to create new fully automated driving technology.
Ford offers the most available driver-assistance features in four US vehicle segments, according to an analysis comparing mainstream vehicles by SBD North America.
Ford said it is collaborating with start-ups and other key players in Silicon Valley to make mobility solutions accessible to millions of people worldwide.
Since December 2014, the company has been working with Redwood City-based Carbon3D ? which developed Continuous Liquid Interface Production technology (CLIP) ? a 3D printing technology that grows parts from UV curable resins at speeds as much as 25 to 100 times faster than conventional 3D printing processes.
The resulting parts boast mechanical properties that are applicable for a range of needs for Ford vehicles including high-quality automotive-grade parts.
Carbon3D technology uses engineering resins able to damp vibrations, support loads or withstand high temperatures.
Using the technology, Ford produced elastomer grommets for the Ford Focus Electric and damping bumper parts for the Transit Connect.
Ford boosting connectivity, too
Ford also has been working to extend connectivity innovations to wearable technology. The company developed a MyFord Mobile app extension coming soon for smartwatches ? including Android Wear.
The MyFord Mobile application, already available for smartphones, will provide customers the ability to check the driving range and battery charge for their plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle quickly from their wrists before they leave on a trip, and to even find the location where they last parked.
Ford also recently announced its all-new Sync 3 communications and entertainment system will debut in North America on the 2016 Ford Escape, Fiesta, F-150, Mustang and Transit.
Sync 3 features faster performance, conversational voice recognition, intuitive smartphone-like touch screen and easier-to-understand graphical interface.
Ford was first to bring voice control to smartphone apps with AppLink, and the experience is further improved with the touch screen interface experience of Sync 3.
AppLink allows customers to connect their smartphone and control their compatible apps using voice commands or buttons on the touch screen display. The first apps to launch with the new Sync 3 AppLink experience are Spotify, Pandora, Glympse, Accuweather and iHeartAuto.