We've all done it; you're halfway through a lane change and suddenly a horn sounds and snaps you to reality. Whether you failed to check your blind spot adequately, or just plain oblivious, Ford's introducing a two features to help you out. The Blind Spot Mirror and Cross Traffic Alert with Blind Spot Monitoring System will arrive in 2009, and one offers a low-tech solution, while the other appears to be a Volvo feature trickling down.
Elegantly simple, the Blind Spot Mirror cleverly integrates a convex mirror into the regular mirror glass, much like the generations-old side-reducing mirrors available in other markets with a concave area to aid in viewing blind spots. The Cross-Traffic alert system uses radar to monitor traffic perpendicular to the back end when reversing. During forward travel, the radar system is used to detect and warn of vehicles traveling in your blind spot. The radar tricks sound to us like Ford leveraging Volvo's BLIS system, that monitors blind spots and lights a pilot LED when there's a vehicle there, and we worry that it will make drivers even less attentive, but then, we realize nobody is paying attention now, so if this rig raises awareness, road safety should improve. Ford's planning on bundling these new safety features along with reverse sensing and rearview cameras to create a more comprehensive portfolio of electronic safety aids in response to customers indicating a desire for better mirrors and safety systems. Press release after the jump
NEW FORD MIRROR DESIGN AND RADAR SYSTEMS TO MINIMIZE BLIND SPOT RISK
- Ford introduces two new features coming in 2009 to aid drivers' visibility: Blind Spot Mirror and the Cross Traffic Alert with Blind Spot Monitoring System.
- The Blind Spot Mirror arrives as standard equipment replacing traditional side view mirrors and features an integrated convex spotter mirror aimed directly at the vehicle's blind spot.
- The Cross Traffic Alert with Blind Spot Monitoring System utilizes radar to alert of cross-path traffic while in reverse and, in forward gears, warn when a vehicle enters the blind spot.
DEARBORN, Mich., April, 9 2008 - Ford is actively addressing drivers' demands for increased visibility with the introduction of two new features, the Blind Spot Mirror and the Cross Traffic Alert with Blind-Spot Monitoring System, arriving in 2009.
"Ford is delivering innovative features aiding in a better drive experience for the customer," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford Group Vice President, Global Product Development. "The Blind Spot Mirror and Cross Traffic Alert with Blind Spot Monitoring System are enhancing the customer ownership experience and bringing more value to their purchase."
Ford will be first to market with the Blind Spot Mirror, answering customers' demands for better visibility as they change lanes or parallel park. This affordable mirror technology will first launch early next year and find its way onto many future Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles as standard equipment.
The Cross Traffic Alert with Blind Spot Monitoring System is a radar-based blind spot detection system with the additional capability to help customers confidently back out of a parking space even when there is traffic approaching from the sides. The optional system will join the Ford portfolio of innovative technologies in 2009 and quickly migrate through the model lineup.
Both of these features demonstrate how Ford is listening closely to customers and responding to customer demand for increased visibility.
Blind Spot Mirror
Ford's push to develop the Blind Spot Mirror and migrate it across its lineup is a direct response to customer research, reports Kelly Kohlstrand with Ford's Advanced Product Marketing and Technology Planning team. "We seek to plan new features that address unmet customer needs," says Kohlstrand. "Customers told us that visibility is important to them and that they specifically desired a more effective outside rearview mirror."
Early drive clinics conducted by Ford show that the Blind Spot Mirror connects with customers - nearly 76 percent of the participants said the mirror improves their confidence while driving. In addition, the learning curve or adjustment to the function of the spotter mirror was minimal.
The Blind Spot Mirror is a consumer-friendly, affordable blind spot solution that consists of an outside rearview mirror designed with a secondary convex spotter in the top outer corner, which is aimed exclusively at the driver's blind spot. When traffic enters the driver's blind spot on either side of the vehicle, it is visible in the secondary convex mirror, thus alerting the driver of potential danger.
Ford's Blind Spot Mirror provides a seamless, more appealing solution than present aftermarket offerings, as it uses one continuous glass surface and is robust to the elements. Because the factory spotter mirror is uniquely and specifically designed for the vehicle - car or truck - it provides an optimized field of view.
Cross Traffic Alert with Blind Spot Monitoring System
Backing out of a crowded spot in a bustling parking lot, or into street traffic, can be difficult. Drivers sometimes inch their way out with limited visibility on either side, counting on cross traffic to see their vehicle.
Ford's new Cross Traffic Alert feature will assist drivers in backing up by warning drivers of impending traffic while backing out. The feature works in conjunction with Ford's radar-based Blind Spot Monitoring System, utilizing this system's two multiple beam radar modules, which are packaged in the rear quarter panels - one per side. The radar identifies when a vehicle enters the defined blind spot zone and illuminates an indicator light on the corresponding sideview mirror providing a warning that a vehicle is approaching.
Cross Traffic Alert uses the radar when in reverse to pick up moving objects within a 65-foot range from either the left or right side of the vehicle. The radar also works when backing out of angled parking spaces because its view is wider than just strictly sensing traffic coming at a 90-degree angle. Conventional systems have limited sideways effectiveness. When cross traffic is approaching, two warnings are given: an indicator lights up in the corresponding outside mirror and an audible alert is sounded.
The Blind Spot Mirror and Cross Traffic Alert with Blind Spot Monitoring System will join a portfolio of vehicle parking and back-up aids presently offered by Ford, including the Reverse Sensing System and the Rear View Camera.