Ford Develops Intelligent Focus

Ford has unveiled a new Focus which can park itself and avoids crashes by steering the driver out of trouble.

The model, which takes control of the steering wheel when it detects the risk of a collision, is being tested a research facility in Germany. The Obstacle Avoidance system warns the driver of danger and then takes action if they do not react.

Through the use of three radars, the car can scan up to 200m (650ft) ahead.

Barb Samardzich, vice-president of product development at Ford’s European division, commented on the advantages offered by the technology. He said: “You’re driving down the road and a pedestrian or something comes out from either side of your vehicle from your peripheral vision where you don’t have a good look at it.

“Obstacle Avoidance can sense that the pedestrian or that object is coming across the front of your vehicle. If it doesn’t sense you responding accordingly in your vehicle by braking or manoeuvring, it will take over.”


Ford already offers some intelligent safety technologies. Amongst them is Lane Keeping Alert, which alerts the driver if the car is drifting out of lane without using an indicator.

Tim Urquhart, senior analyst at consultants IHS Automotive, said of the new system: “The logic behind the technology is impeccable – anything that can avoid a potentially dangerous situation that can cause injury or death sounds like a good piece of equipment.

“Obviously it will come at a price. But there will be less resistance to a piece of technology like this than there will be to the concept of totally driverless cars.

“But autonomous vehicles are already being tested by Google, Daimler and others, and taking steering control in an emergency situation is obviously a pretty significant step along the road.”

The manufacturer has claimed that more tests are needed, and consequently has not yet announced a launch date for the new technology.

Current and previous generation Focus models are available at