Ford Super Duty to offer driver-assistance technology
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Ford Super Duty to offer trailer-focused adaptive cruise control, adaptive steering

Ford Motor Co. has announced that the newest Super Duty trucks will feature a host of driver-assistance technology, including adaptive cruise control and adaptive steering.

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Ford Motor Co. has announced that the newest Super Duty trucks will feature a host of driver-assistance technology, including adaptive cruise control and adaptive steering.

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Adaptive cruise control

Drivers can set cruise control at a comfortable following distance using Super Duty’s adaptive cruise control. The feature uses radar to measure the distance and speed of vehicles ahead, then automatically slows truck and trailer to maintain that preset distance at speeds above 20 MPH. Adaptive cruise control with Super Duty’s 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel engine uses the engine brake to assist drivers towing heavy trailers, allowing truckers to traverse steep mountain grades while maintaining speed—even with a trailer weighing more than 31,500 lbs.

“Towing is core to the Super Duty mission, and drivers will appreciate the engineering sophistication that enables adaptive cruise control to determine speed uphill and downhill with a trailer,” says Craig Schmatz, the Ford Super Duty chief engineer. “We have torture-tested the technology in high elevations and on significant grades at places like Davis Dam in Arizona, Loveland Pass in Colorado and the mountain roads surrounding Beckley, W.Va.”

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A number of systems work in tandem to enable adaptive cruise control, including powertrain control, trailer brake control and the anti-lock brake system. Speed is further controlled on descents with the 6.7-liter Power Stroke engine’s integrated engine brake. Extra engine braking power helps reduce wear and tear on wheel brakes, especially on downhill grades.

Adaptive steering

Adaptive steering is a new power steering technology that reduces the amount of steering input needed to change direction at low speeds. It also reduces sensitivity to steering input necessary at higher speeds and helps make towing the heaviest of loads easier.

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The technology changes the ratio between the driver’s actions at the steering wheel—the number of turns—and how much the front wheels turn. Vehicles without the technology have a fixed ratio, but with adaptive steering, the ratio continually changes with vehicle speed, optimizing steering response in all conditions. Housed entirely within the steering wheel, the precision-controlled actuator—an electric motor and gearing system—can add to or subtract from a driver’s inputs. The result is a more connected, engaging driving experience at all speeds.

Other technologies offered by the Super Duty include a Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with trailer coverage, which uses radar hidden in the taillights to detect a vehicle entering a driver’s blind spot while driving or backing up, and alerts the driver with a yellow light in the sideview mirror; and lane-departure warning, which vibrates the steering wheel to mimic rumble strips when the driver begins to drift over a lane marker.

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