Do you want a car with the latest in lane-departure warning, parking sensors, and the like? According to The Detroit News, interest in active safety features like those does not necessarily mean you want a self-driving car.

The paper cites a study of more than 2,500 drivers over the age of 18, commissioned by Ford, which found that nine out of ten drivers were interested in active safety tech.

According to the study, 60 percent of drivers blame blind spots for accidents, while 40 percent are actually afraid of parallel parking. Additionally, nearly half of the drivers surveyed have admitted to falling asleep while driving or know someone who has.

The study was conducted by market-research firm Penn Schoen Berland, and found that while drivers want driver-assist technologies, many are not aware of some that are already available.

Since Ford was the automaker to commission the study, it was quick to point out that the 2013 Fusion offers 10 such driver aids, such as lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring and a rear view camera, among other features. It should also be noted that many of these features are also available on new Nissan, Chevrolet, Honda, and Toyota vehicles.

As for the self driving car? The people have spoken, and more than half are interested, but only 39 percent said they could be comfortable driving an autonomous vehicle. Scroll down to check out the press release from Ford and their findings.
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Survey Says: American Drivers Want Features That Help Make Them More Aware; New Ford Fusion up to the Challenge

Nearly nine in 10 drivers are interested in alert and assist technologies like those offered on the all-new Ford Fusion launching this fall, according to a new Ford survey

Drivers acknowledge their limitations: Nearly 50 percent have fallen asleep while driving or know someone who has; nearly six in 10 blame blind spots for accidents or near collisions and nearly four in 10 of those surveyed fear parallel parking

The all-new 2013 Ford Fusion offers the most complete suite of advanced driver assist technologies in the family sedan segment – capabilities previously only available in luxury cars that cost at least $100,000

Early orders for the 2013 Fusion include higher-than-expected demand for new technology features

DEARBORN, Mich., Aug. 28, 2012 – According to a new survey commissioned by Ford, most Americans say they consider themselves to be careful drivers but admit they would welcome some extra electronic help when they're behind the wheel. Even the most attentive of drivers can't see everything around them at all times or anticipate every hazard on the road.

Customer attitudes evolving
Recently, leading market research firm Penn Schoen Berland conducted the survey of American drivers over the age of 18 to learn more about their attitudes toward driver assist technology.

The survey found that the vast majority of drivers are interested in getting some extra assist features in their next vehicle to help them avoid potential accidents.

"We found the drivers we talked to were definitely inclined toward features that provided real practical benefits by alerting them to potentially hazardous situations they may have missed," said Billy Mann, managing director of Penn Schoen Berland. "For them, assistance features that increase awareness ranked high among their priorities."


Even under ideal daytime conditions on a dry road, traffic can suddenly slow or someone can slip into the gap between you and the car ahead. When the sun goes down or the clouds open up, it gets harder to judge what a suitable following distance might be. Nearly nine out of 10 of the survey respondents expressed interest in technology that could assist in slowing their car if it determines there is a potential collision ahead.

Whether on the highway during rush hour, in urban traffic or a parking lot, driving in close quarters with other vehicles can be stressful for any driver. Two-thirds of the drivers who participated in the survey indicated they would be interested in systems that can help them see around other vehicles while backing out of a parking space and detect other vehicles that might be in a blind spot over their shoulders.

Meeting customer demands
"Basic transportation has long been the dominant style in the midsize family sedan segment," says Amy Marentic, Ford Group Marketing manager. "This survey shows that as consumers have become accustomed to using electronic assistants in other aspects of life, they are increasingly recognizing how technology can help them cope with the stresses of driving."

Fatigue or inattentiveness can lead to a car drifting out of its lane and eight in 10 of the surveyed drivers expressed interest in a system that could provide an alert or even help to keep the vehicle in the lane. Ford's Lane-Keeping System uses a forward-facing camera to watch for visible road markings, alerting the driver by vibrating the steering wheel if the system senses the car drifting out of its lane. Fusion is the only car in the segment that also applies a torque to the steering wheel to help nudge the car back into the lane.

"With the emergence of sensor-packed smartphones over the past several years, consumers have become accustomed to using their electronic gadgets to realize real-world benefits such as finding their way in unfamiliar places, figuring out the best place to grab a meal and track their exercise," says Sheryl Connelly, Ford manager of Global Trends and Futuring. "Advanced driver assistance features bring those benefits to the driving experience by extending the driver's senses beyond the car."

While respondents almost universally consider themselves to be safe behind the wheel, the majority also acknowledge that they engage in other activities when they are behind the wheel. Three-quarters admit to eating or drinking behind the wheel and more than half have exceeded the speed limit or used a hand-held mobile phone. Eighty-three percent admit that either they or someone they know has driven when very tired.

Adult American drivers are self-aware enough to recognize the flaws in their own driving habits and express interest in technological aids.

"We see the driver as always being at the center of control of the vehicle," said Randy Visintainer, director of Ford Research and Innovation. "With improvements in sensing and control technologies, we can now provide unprecedented levels of assistance to drivers."

While understanding it is critical that drivers always retain full control of their vehicle, Ford engineers recognize there will always be situations where they can use some help, says Visintainer, so they've developed a full suite of driver assistance technologies to help mitigate the risks. Until now, it's only been possible to get many of these features in luxury cars costing $100,000 or more.

"In the early weeks of taking orders for the new Fusion, customer interest in these driver assist features is translating into strong demand," says Marentic. "More than 14 percent of the orders so far include the Driver Assist Package (BLIS, Lane-Keeping System, auto high-beams and rain-sensing wipers), exceeding our expectations."

Fusion is the first mainstream midsize sedan to offer adaptive cruise control and more than 5 percent of customers so far are requesting this radar-based system that also incorporates forward collision warning.

For 2013, all new Fusions include the award-winning SYNC in-vehicle connectivity system as standard equipment. More than half of the respondents in the survey acknowledge they have used a hand-held mobile phone while driving. Fifty percent of customers so far are getting the enhanced voice control provided by MyFord Touch®, which is optional on Fusion SE and standard on Titanium models.

For more on the new Ford Fusion, check out FordFusionStory.com, a special mobile site featuring unique content including articles, videos and graphics that are easily shareable directly from your smartphone, tablet or computer browser to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or blogs.


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  • 106 Comments
      oRenj9
      • 2 Years Ago
      Once this technology becomes common-place, I'm all for requiring drivers to only be allowed to operate autonomous vehicles unless they pass more stringent and frequent driver examinations. Far too many people are injured or killed in motor vehicle accidents every year, and if this technology will reduce that number, then we should encourage its adoption as quickly as is feasible.
      DB
      • 2 Years Ago
      Notice the statistic that 99% of Americans think they are good drivers. I've seen a breakdown of similar numbers: 70% believe they are excellent drivers, 20% believe they are average drivers and 1% know that they are below average drivers. Having worked in this area for over a decade, I can tell you almost everybody thinks that they are much better drivers than they really are. Despite all of the boasting about how good drivers are better than the electronic nannies, I've yet to see a driver outstop ABS, out-accelerate a good TCS, or out maneuver a good Stability Control system. The Nissan GT-R is proof that computers added an overweight and underpowered 4-seater can allow it to outperform cars with twice the power-to-weight, even when they are driven by “the Stig”. When you look at the commercial aviation industry, where pilots receive considerable training, pilots are not allowed to land manually in instruments-only (bad weather) conditions. Autolanders are mandatory. Human pilots are nowhere nearly as reliable machines when visible is diminished. Almost every fighter since the F16 has been fly-by-wire. The unstable nature of modern fighters makes them more maneuverable but also makes them unflyable by unaired pilots. When it comes to autonomous driving, there is still a lot of work to be done in detecting pedestrian intent and detecting aggressive drivers or seeing through fog. However when it comes to track driving, autonomous vehicles already are better than almost all but the best human drivers. BMW autonomous 3 series is only 2 seconds slower on Laguna Seca that the best human time in a similar vehicle. Google has a track setup for one of its autonomous vehicles, where human drivers are allowed to try to beat the autopilot’s lap time. They’ve told me that they’ve yet to have a human beat the machine. It’s hard for humans to beat a computer’s understanding of physics. As a car enthusiast I agree in the needs an off button. When I want to drive let me drive. There are other times (i.e. stuck in a 2 hour traffic jam) when I won’t mind pressing the auto button.
        Kip
        • 2 Years Ago
        @DB
        I've also seen the statistics about people's assessment of their own driving skills. It's self delusion at it's finest. Each time I take my car on the track, I walk away realizing how much more I have to learn. Everyone should try it (or an AutoX), it's very humbling. I don't fully agree that a computer is going to be better than a human in all situations. The two examples you use above (planes in low sight conditions and autonomous vehicles on a track) are more controlled situations with fewer unknown variables then driving down the road. I'm not a pilot, so I'm not qualified to speak to landing in a rain storm. However, if I over simplify (probably in a big way) and apply what I do know, landing a plane is about moving a vehicle from point A (where they're at) to point B (the runway). It's pretty much a straight line, the environment is reasonably consistent, the variables that change are measurable (e.g. crosswinds), and there's limited risk of another vehicle encroaching on your space. It's similar with autonomous drivers on a track: environment is consistent, variables are measurable (e.g. pitch of the road, etc.), and there's limited risk of another vehicle encroaching on your space, assuming we're not taking the autonomous vehicles wheel-to-wheel. You're comment about " It’s hard for humans to beat a computer’s understanding of physics." is true when the computer is be programmed and re-programmed for the same path with the same conditions with similar variables. Eventually they'll get it more right (maybe on the first pass maybe on the 20th). Road driving is not a consistent environment. Potholes, construction, gravel, fallen trees, etc. change the road surface every day. While the variables while driving are measurable, they're not always going to be the same variables. Rain, snow, ice, standing water on dry days, crosswinds, dust storms, etc. can all happen (Hell, where I live, they could all happen in the course of day, save maybe the dust storms). Finally, even if/when we finally program for all of those situations and all cars are autonomous, bicycles, dogs, children, skateboards, motorcycles, scooters, etc. will most likely not be autonomous and will still be sharing the road with us. Unless we then program for all of those considerations, the human driver will still be able to react better assuming 1) they're paying attention and 2) they've been trained with the proper reaction. Of course, that brings us back to the statistics about good drivers.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @DB
        [blocked]
      J
      • 2 Years Ago
      In other words, 9 out of 10 drivers are pretty terrible. More news at 11.
      cmcclarty
      • 2 Years Ago
      Shame all this tech stuff to take the place of stupid drivers.
      merlot066
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm sure the government won't like this, then they won't be able to rake in revenue from red light cameras.
      Paul
      • 2 Years Ago
      All I want is LOWER GAS PRICES !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      johnbravo6
      • 2 Years Ago
      In other words, 9/10 drivers want to continue buying conventional cars that Ford already makes, and spending more on them. But fewer than half want the new fangled cars that Ford doesn't make. I'm shocked.
      Laurel
      • 2 Years Ago
      I can't stand the assist stuff. If anything because I don't want something to be controlling my car other than me. But why do people "need" this stuff anyway? If you know how to drive, don't drive like a maniac, and actually pay attention, you don't need anything more than basic controls to get you from A to B. Not a computer, not a sensor, not an override, none of that. I drove a 71 VW Beetle today. You know what that has for "assist" technology? Two mirrors, headlamps, and windshield wipers. Yet I had no problem driving to my destination. Nor do I ever in the 40K miles a year that I put on it. And I'M in control of the car. Not a computer to speak of.
      kwikrdrvr
      • 2 Years Ago
      There should be less of this technical crap in cars, they are distracting. The driver should be paying all his/her attention to the act of driving. The self-parking option? Good grief, if you can't handle a car well enough to parallel park it you probably shouldn't be driving. Parallel parking was part of the drivers test for a license, it was there to prove you could judge where the car was going in a tight space.
      Leather Bear
      • 2 Years Ago
      Although I'm intrigued by adaptive cruise, blind spot monitoring, etc., I haven't driven a vehicle so equipped yet. One thing of concern: some of these function are radar controlled, and I worry that they might cause interference with my radar detector. Can anyone relate their experience using a radar detector while one (or more) of these driver assists are engaged?
        Joebudgie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Leather Bear
        If you obey the posted speed limits why do you need Radar?
          wrxfrk16
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joebudgie
          If the posted speed limits made sense they'd be worth obeying...
          kwikrdrvr
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joebudgie
          Most posted speeds are ther to make the city money with tickets. Most make no sense at all.
      linwell
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wow they asked all of 2500 people....this is what is wrong with polls of any kind they do not dipict accuracy in any way. Ask all of America for their opinion then show the mumbers.
      talari
      • 2 Years Ago
      Let's have robots to live our lives for us too.
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