Ford's New Driver Assistants Can Avoid Crashes Better Than You Can

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Together, these systems are one step away from full autonomy.

You, dear reader, likely fall into one of two categories of enthusiasts: those who can drive well, know their cars, and sneak in bouts of full-throttle fun when it's safe, and those who tend to crash their Mustangs at Cars and Coffee. To help the Mustang wreckers and all other drivers who lack confidence behind the wheel, Ford is unveiling new semi-autonomous safety technology designed to prevent rear-end collisions, stop low-speed parking lot dings, and halt drivers careening down the wrong side of the road.

The most applicable feature is Ford's self-parking technology, something we have already experienced in the Lincoln MKX and Ford Explorer. Essentially, this allows the car to use its sensors to parallel or perpendicular park for the driver, as well as pull out of a tight spot once it's time to leave. We can confirm that the system works well and even those of us who take pride in knowing how to park found it useful for eliminating a potential headache. The system also does away with low-speed crashes by applying the brakes when the driver ignores alerts asking them to stop the vehicle when someone walks behind in the parking garage.

Of course none of those two aforementioned systems will be as popular as traffic jam assist.

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There's also Ford's new collision avoidance system that goes a step further than most modern day mitigation systems. Those tend to hit the brakes, reducing the severity of a crash but not altogether eliminating it. On the other hand, Ford's evasive steering assist can actually steer into a median or adjacent lane if it determines that there is too little room to come to a complete stop without colliding. We suspect this will be helpful when beeps from the wrong way alert system fail to sway the driver into getting out of the oncoming lane of traffic. Additionally, Ford is currently tripling its R & D budget for driver assist systems.

On the horizon, we can expect traffic jam assist, a camera-based system that adjusts headlights around roundabouts, and a system that points out animals and pedestrians using an infrared camera. Here are those fancy headlights in action.

And here is how Ford hopes to save drunk drivers from driving down the wrong way of the street.

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