Ford Motor Company recently introduced new crash avoidance technology Curve Control designed to help drivers maintain control of their vehicles when taking a curve too quickly.
Curve Control debuts as standard equipment on the new 2011 Ford Explorer going into production later this year and will be offered on 90 percent of the company’s North American crossovers, sport utilities, trucks and vans by 2015, Ford says.
Curve Control 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" Curve Control activates. The system rapidly reduces engine torque and applies the precise amount of braking required on each wheel to enhance the individual wheel braking of the traditional stability control system. It can slow a vehicle by 10 mph in one second.
Based on Ford’s AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control, Curve Control 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.
Ford says taking curves too quickly contributes to about 50,000 crashes each year in the U.S.
"Too many accidents stem from drivers misjudging their speed going into curves and freeway 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."
Curve Control is effective on dry or wet pavement and is expected to be particularly useful when drivers are entering or exiting freeway on- or off-ramps with too much speed, Ford says.
"Ford is developing technologies such as Curve Control and radar-based collision warning systems that can prevent crashes from happening in the first place," said Paul Mascarenas, Ford vice president of Engineering for Global Product Development. "These new active systems designed to prevent accidents are the perfect complement for Ford’s leading passive safety systems such as advanced airbags and high-strength vehicle structures that protect occupants when a crash is inevitable."
Curve Control is one of several new driver assist and safety technologies to be offered on the new Explorer. Other technologies include next-generation adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake support, state-of-the-art pressure-based airbag technology, the industry’s first inflatable rear seat belts and intelligent four-wheel-drive terrain management system.