Ford Motor Company announced a new and improved version of the Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection system it introduced on the 2017 Fusion will be offered here in the U.S. starting with the 2018 Mustang and F-150. This enhanced setup is designed to provide the same level of automatic braking capabilities in the dark as the existing system does in daylight. In presenting the revised Pedestrian Detection setup, Ford noted that, NHTSA statistics for 2015 found that 74 percent of all traffic-related pedestrian fatalities occurred during hours of darkness with an additional two percent happening in both dawn and dusk periods.

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“We know some drivers find hitting the road at night a stressful experience. Especially driving in towns and cities, pedestrians–sometimes distracted by smartphones–can without warning step into the road, leaving even alert drivers very little time to avoid an accident,” said Gregor Allexi, active safety engineer, Ford of Europe. “Day and night, Pedestrian Detection is designed to help identify people already in–or about to step into–the road ahead.”

Taking a better shot in the dark

Building on Ford’s existing pre-collision system technology, this latest iteration of pedestrian detection continues to use a windshield-mounted camera and radar located near the bumper to scan the road ahead for potential impact threats. It also works with a database that can distinguish between “pedestrian shapes” and other objects. Snapping at over 30 frames per second, the camera’s live-feed input and optimized viewing angle allows this upgraded package to more effectively pick out pedestrians in various low-light conditions. When it detects a potential pedestrian collision is imminent, the system first issues audible and visual warnings. Should they fail to generate an immediate response from the driver, the system automatically applies the brakes.

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Ford’s enhanced pedestrian detection debuted on the 2018 Euro-spec Fiesta that was presented in Geneva. Although the automaker has only confirmed U.S. availability on the 2018 Mustang and F-150 at this point, it seems certain to filter on through other members of the Blue Oval lineup as well as Lincoln vehicles.

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