Ford Bets on Electric Power Steering
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Tweaking a feature that hasn't physically changed much over the year could have been done in only one way: software. Ford fitted the EPS with what they call pull-drift compensation, allowing the drivers to offset vehicle pulling or drifting that can occur in steady crosswinds or on uneven roads.
"Pull and drift are major customer annoyances that have been difficult to completely eliminate because of multiple factors that contribute to this phenomenon. Ford’s innovative pull-drift technology compensates to provide driving comfort straight down the road, even in steady crosswinds and on banked and uneven roads,” Ali Jammoul, Ford Chassis Engineering and Steering Systems chief engineer said in a release.
EPS uses sensors to measure the wheel torque applied by the driver to maintain the vehicle’s path; continually resetting to adapt to changing road conditions. The pull-drift software allows the EPS the tools through which it can compensate for slight steering torque changes.
"With pull-drift compensation, the EPS system gradually will dial in torque for easier steering without the driver feeling it in his or her fingers or needing to make an extra effort. The electric motor does more, so you don’t have to,” Brian Kosztowny, Ford Vehicle Dynamics engineer added.
As usual, there's more to the story than meets the eye. EPS is used by the on board computer to enable the Active Park Assist, to be seen for the first time on 2010 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles. EPS, combined with an ultrasonic sensing system, positions the vehicle for parallel parking, calculating the optimal vehicle angle and steering the vehicle into a parking spot.
Ford has another reason to fit its line up with EPS, as the company found that vehicles using EPS gain 5 percent in fuel economy and put out into the atmosphere 3.5 percent less CO2 emissions.
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