Ford Crash Tests with Balloons
Adaptive Cruise Control with Collision Warning with Brake Support is designed to warn drivers of possible hazards in front of them and assist them in reacting earlier. The area in front of the vehicle is continuously monitored by a radar sensor. When the car approaches another moving vehicle from behind and the driver doesn’t react, an audible warning alert sounds and a warning lamp is illuminated on the windshield.
If the collision risk increases further without an evasive driver response, the system pre-charges brakes and an emergency brake-assist feature is readied for the driver to test the system, the balloons play the role of the “target” vehicle, allowing Ford engineers to prove out the feature without endangering test drivers or damaging real cars. About a dozen balloon cars, weighing more than 40 pounds, are available in different sizes and designed to test the radar precision activate more easily.
“We want to build on Ford’s leading number top crash-safety ratings by offering the most advanced crash-avoidance technologies,” said Steve Kozak, Ford’s global chief engineer, Safety Systems. “Delivering these new technologies required our teams to implement new types of testing.”
“With the balloon, there’s no deceleration in the vehicle upon impact – in other words, you’re not thrown forward at all. It’s a good way to observe what’s happening at the instant before the impact,” test driver Mike Lopez said.