This should give those with night blindness and a fear of the dark a bit more comfort when driving at night.
One of our favorite ways to test out a high-performance vehicle is to send it rocketing down a desolate twisting road at night to give the nocturnal animals a show and jack adrenaline levels up to “well shit I’m not sleeping tonight” levels. This is easier said than done on backcountry roads where pedestrians are as rare as a manual spec’d diesel in the US, but even those with night blindness may suffer from the rational fear of running into a living body. Thanks to Ford, you’ll soon have to fear no longer.
Ford cited research finding that one in five drivers are afraid of the dark when driving due to concerns of hitting pedestrians as well as numbers of pedestrian accidents at night from various international studies that back up these concerns, as justification for debuting new technology to cut down on pedestrian-ramming mishaps. Unlike the snazzy night vision cameras in high-class offerings like the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes S-Class, Ford’s system doesn’t actually display a green tinted view of the road. Instead it takes advantage of the radar system on the front of the car (which is devoted to the automatic braking and automatic cruise control) as well as the windshield-mounted cameras to scan what’s ahead of the car, including the sidewalks.
The system then matches whatever it sees with a database of pedestrian shapes to determine of if the car is on a collision course with a person. The camera is capable of delivering more than 30 snapshots to the computer per second, allowing it to get a good idea of what’s in front even in low light settings. If it determines that a collision with a pedestrian is possible, it sounds aural warnings and flashes visual alerts to the driver. If the driver fails to stomp on the brakes, the system takes over and does so automatically. Unfortunately the system won’t make it to all Ford vehicles instantly. Instead it will be gradually introduced into Europe starting with the next generation Ford Fiesta that we recently saw debut.
An introduction to the US market will follow on 2018 versions of the Mustang and F-150. Maybe Ford decided to intervene after it saw too many videos of Mustang drivers crashing into things.