Because there are always tough jobs to get gone.
The latest generation Ford F-150 has already proven its "Built Ford Tough" credentials, but there's always room for upgrades. That's exactly what the Blue Oval is doing with three new technologies designed to help eliminate some headaches associated with towing and hauling. First up is the class-exclusive built-in payload estimation tool called Onboard Scales, an optional feature that measures and displays the approximate weight of the truck's payload.
This vital information is displayed in three ways: in the center touchscreen, the FordPass mobile app, and in graphics integrated within the taillights. These are actually smart taillights that function like a battery charge indicator on a smartphone and display the payload capacity's estimated percentage via illuminated LEDs.
As the payload hits its max, all four LEDs will light up. A top light will blink if the truck is overweight.
The second available new feature is called Smart Hitch which, as its name implies, helps owners load trailers and practice safe towing. The system works by measuring the connected trailer's tongue weight in order to provide accurate calculations on weight distribution and hitch overloading. Like before, this data is displayed on the touchscreen, app, and within the taillights. The system will also inform owners if the hitch weight is too high or too low and is capable of offering guidance for properly tensioning a weight redistributing hitch.
Lastly, there's Continuously Controlled Damping for improved ride and handling when towing and/or hauling heavy loads. A computer analyzes signals received by high-resolution sensors and adjusts the truck's response to each signal by controlling valves in the shocks.
A damping force basically controls bounces, pitches, and rolls caused by driving over, say, a pothole. Once the edge of the pothole is detected, the dampers firm up and stop the tires from dropping into the hole as much as possible. This is especially useful while in Tow/Haul mode.
"We're constantly working to deliver a continuous history of capable, strong and smart trucks designed to make the F-150 customer even more productive," said Todd Eckert, Ford truck group marketing manager. Pricing for any of the systems hasn't been revealed but they'll be available starting this summer.