The Ford Edge is a Computer Geek, and We Like It

by Kristin Shaw

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Technology Drives the Autonomous Trend… and Safety

In 2006, Ford debuted the brand-new Edge at the Detroit Auto Show, launching their first edition as a 2007 model year. For 2019, the company is laser-focused on driver confidence with the new Edge, and says it has the most available driver-assist technologies in its class. Not doubt, the Edge is the techiest Ford we’ve ever seen. (And do we also like the name because it shares a moniker with the guitarist of U2? Perhaps.)

Although cars safer than ever, roads in America are getting more and more congested, and many drivers are still stressed about potential accidents, says Ford’s Jim Farley, President, Global Markets. That’s one reason Ford is making these technologies accessible to customers.

The other is a little deeper and more future driven: Ford believes this work also will help people become more comfortable with the idea of autonomous vehicles.

“Many people question the idea of autonomous vehicles,” Farley said. “But those who use advanced driver-assist technologies today say they are more open to cars doing all of the driving in the future.”

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Detest Parallel Parking? This Will Help

As someone who loves cars and loves to drive, I don’t know that I want the car to drive for me. However, the opportunity for safety enhancements is not a bad thing, and driving the new Edge is undeniably a confidence-boosting experience. On the roads in Dallas, I had a chance to try out the driver-assist technologies in the Edge.

Sensors and cameras are mounted at specific locations on the Edge to enhance the driver’s awareness of other vehicles and objects that are beside and behind. I tested the car’s active park assist, which uses ultrasonic sensors on the front and rear of the vehicle to guide the driver into a parallel or perpendicular parking space. It’s kind of a weird feeling, and my pride at being a parallel parking champ was a little bruised that I’d trust those skills to the machine instead of my own eyes. Once you understand how to use the feature, it’s spot on. For anyone who doesn’t enjoy parking as much as I do, it’s definitely a plus.

Co-Pilot360: the Back-Seat Driver You Want

Their safety platform is the Ford Co-Pilot360, which includes standard automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot information system, lane keeping system, rear backup camera and auto high beam lighting. Ford Co-Pilot360 rolled out on the new 2019 Ford Edge and Edge ST in the fall, and will be added to Ford’s new passenger cars, SUVs and their truck line up to the F-150 in North America.

The technology addresses Ford research showing a growing trend of people worrying about hitting pedestrians – and will be standard on 91 percent of Ford vehicles in North America by 2020. Ford Co-Pilot360’s pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection can help drivers avoid collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians. If a potential collision is detected, a warning flashes and an alert sounds; if the driver doesn’t respond quickly, the system can automatically apply the brakes.

Ford says it will continue to introduce new driver-assist technologies. In 2019, it plans to debut automatic emergency braking for when drivers are in reverse for the North America and Asia Pacific markets. The company is also investing $500 million the next five years to continue developing new driver-assist and safety technologies. They’re working to simplify the technologies so they work as drivers expect, especially as driving controls become more automated.  

We’re on board with the direction Ford is taking in technological updates to their fleet. The investment they’re making in safety technologies will benefit the industry as a whole.

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Community Focus: Ford Driving Skills for Life

At Thrills and Wheels, we are strong supporters of safe driving and manufacturer programs to help teenagers develop better driving skills. If you have a teenage driver, check out dates and locations for the Ford Driving Skills for Life (Ford DSFL) to your home. Established in 2003 by Ford Motor Company Fund, the Governors Highway Safety Association, and a panel of safety experts, Ford DSFL was designed to teach new drivers the necessary skills for safe driving beyond what they learn in standard driver education programs.

Ford Driving Skills for Life was created to help teen drivers - for free, by the way - to recognize and overcome distracted driving and develop sharper driving skills. Over the past fifteen, years, this program has taught a vast number of teenagers how to be a better driving, and parents learn alongside them.

A few months ago, we joined a Ford DSFL class in Chicago, and the instructors and curriculum were impressive. Drivers are asked to don special goggles that simulate impaired driving, and the other occupants of the vehicle are encouraged to heckle, distract, and yell while the driver is navigating a coned course.

Kristin Shaw