Ford Safety: Past, Present and Future
Ford Motor Company can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. Some might associate the company with the first affordable, mass market car, the Model T or the first pony car – Mustang. For others Ford was the first mass-market brand that challenged an Italian exotic at LeMans. And won. In India, Ford has been associated with a few firsts like the first pocket-friendly fun-to-drive cars—like the Ikon and the Fiesta S—or the first compact crossover, the EcoSport. Speaking of firsts, Ford has been pioneering safety innovations since its inception in 1903.
Here are a few firsts that you can flaunt in front of your buddies next time the topic of conversation moves towards cars:
So how did Ford manage to get so many firsts under its belt?
Ford has a two-way approach to safety :
- Internal Safety Design Guidelines (SDG)
- Government assessed Public Domain Guidelines (PDG).
Talking about the SGD, a series of internal tests are carried out at Ford’s Arizona proving ground; this includes the crash test that was started in 1954. Ford has come a long way since then and by 2014 had completed 20,000 crash tests in research and development centers.
Apart from regular tests, the Arizona facility also operates a high-tech driving simulator called VIRTTEX, short for VIRtual Test Track EXperiment. These experiments give the engineers a chance to test their product in varied conditions. This not only reduces cost for the company but also gets the product to the market sooner. These rigorous evaluations help Ford vehicles meet regulatory requirements and their own stringent internal guidelines.
Once these internal inspections are done, it’s time for the product to be scrutinised by the Public Domain Guide. The challenges faced by a manufacturer with regards to PDG are the ever evolving nature of the tests. Public domain rating programs are regularly updated based on testing protocols and evaluation criteria depending on regional requirements.
Safety has become a top priority not only for customers but for governments as well. New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) systems are being launched in regions where they were not required in the past. A Latin NCAP system, for example, has been implemented to rate vehicles in Mexico and South and Central America, and an ASEAN NCAP was launched in Malaysia. The newest entrant to these assessment tests is India, where Bharat NCAP will be introduced by October 2017.
Ford India is future ready for these tests and customers will be glad to know that Ford offers 6 airbags across all models. Being a global player, Ford prepares for these PDG inspection by having extensive crash-test facilities all around the world like Merkenich in Germany and Dunton in England.
One of the more innovative approach to safety by Ford is MyKey. With the MyKey feature, you can set the maximum speed limit, seatbelt reminder and even control the volume of the audio system, if needed. This is especially useful when giving your car to the valet or inexperienced drivers.
Ford has a rich history of not only having one of the most iconic cars in the motor industry but a long history of making its products safer.
The new frontier for Ford now will be autonomous driving. Even today, Ford vehicles have radar- and camera-based technologies that are a first step toward autonomous driving. As the technology progresses further, Ford is working on vehicles that communicate with each other and with the world around them. This will help passengers avoid heavy traffic routes as well as alert other cars in case of an accident.