A new safety system that automatically brakes to avoid pedestrians if the driver is distracted will be available on the new Ford Mondeo from launch in late 2014. Ford’s Pedestrian Detection system could prevent a collision or mitigate its severity and the all-new Mondeo will be the brand's first car to offer it globally. The system scans for hazards via a camera on the windscreen and radar in the front bumper. It then cross references objects against a database of pedestrian shapes. This enables it to distinguish between people and street furniture such as bollards. If the system concludes that a collision is likely it informs the driver via an audible and visual warning. Should he/she not respond, it moves the brake pads closer to the discs to minimise the stopping distance. It then brakes if the motorist continues to be passive.
Pedestrian Detection works at up to 50mph and was first evaluated on closed tracks with life-size dummies. Engineers then refined its performance on real roads. Gregor Allexi, an Active Safety Engineer for Ford of Europe, said: “We covered more than five-hundred thousand kilometres to make sure that we tested Pedestrian Detection against the widest range of people and situations possible.” Pedestrian Detection is part of the Pre-Collision Assist Package that also brakes if the car is likely to hit the vehicle it is following. This is a common error, particularly in start stop city traffic.
New Ford Mondeo Formed From Safety-Focussed Materials
The Ford Mondeo also incorporates other new safety features not seen on its predecessor. These include the industry-first use of hydro-formed high strength steel within the a-pillars, b-pillars and roof rails. The manufacturing process uses hydraulic fluid to press metal into complex shapes. Many of these cannot be formed with traditional stamping methods. The benefit is superior strength-to-weight-ratios and bending stiffness.
A company spokesman said: “We’ve improved the strength of safety relevant areas by forty percent, and verified the performance with thousands of computer simulations and more than one-hundred and eighty real-world crash tests.”
The b-pillars, for example, now reduce side impact intrusions by more than six centimetres.
Other enhancements include the anti-roll bar that limits the movement of the transmission and steering rack in a frontal impact. This minimises the risk of driver injury. The new Mondeo also has sill rocker panels made from martensitic boron steel which provides robust side impact protection. These sit beneath the doors.