Ford has new ‘active park assist’ system
How many of you out there who drive hate to perform parallel parking? While it isn’t exactly tough when you have training poles to guide you during a test, to attempt so while you’re on your own is a totally different story especially for beginners and new drivers. Ford understands that not everyone is a natural parallel parker (if there’s such a thing), and has introduced its new Active Park Assist system in its Lincoln MKT and MKS lines. The Active Park Assist will be available in mid-2009 onwards as an option on the 2010 Lincoln MKS sedan and new Lincoln MKT crossover, relying on an ultrasonic-based sensing system while using the Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS) to help place the vehicle in an optimal position for parallel parking, all the while calculating the optimal steering angle to quickly steer the vehicle into a parking spot.
Active Park Assist system relies on sensors located on the front and rear of the vehicle to help guide the vehicle into a designated parking space. Apparently, this is by far more advanced and faster compared to camera-reliant systems offered by competitors, including a video camera-based system found in Lexus vehicles. According to Ford, their system requires less driver interface while reduces the risk of selecting a parking spot that is too tight. Guess we will have to wait for actual user feedback before determining whether Ford’s claims are up to snuff or not.
Active Park Assist is enabled thanks to Ford’s advanced EPAS technology. EPAS not only aids in parallel parking, but is tipped to improve fuel economy up to 5% while offering Mother Nature a brief respite by reducing CO2 emissions and enhancing steering performance simultaneously. Fuel is saved mostly because the steering system is powered by an electric motor connected to vehicle’s battery instead of being connected to an engine-mounted hydraulic pump steering system. 2012 will be the year to watch as that’s when Ford aims to fit nearly 90% of its Ford, Lincoln and Mercury fleets with EPAS.