Ford Motor Co. is responding to consumers' desire for increased vehicle safety by adding more standard safety features to its 2007 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury lineups.
The company has made side air curtains or its advanced Safety Canopy system with rollover sensor standard equipment on 14 vehicles for the 2007 model year, including the all-new Ford Edge, Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator.
Ford's Safety Canopy air curtain system was key to the 2006 Ford Five Hundred and Mercury Montego earning the IIHS highest "Top Safety-Gold" rating after achieving the highest ratings in rear, frontal offset and side-impact crash protection.
The 2007 Ford Expedition offers standard seat-mounted front side air bags and a three-row Safety Canopy rollover detection system. Ford's exclusive AdvanceTrac with RSC (Roll Stability Control) also is standard on both Expedition and Expedition EL.
Ford engineers are also working on new technologies to assist in crash avoidance. Lane Departure Warning uses a forward-looking camera to read the lines in the road and provides feedback to the driver if he or she drifts from the lane inadvertently.
Blind spot monitoring uses a sensor housed in the exterior mirror that monitors side traffic. As a supplement to the mirror, an indicator light informs the driver of vehicles outside the normal field of view. This technology will launch on the new Volvo S80.
Collision mitigation sensors measure distance, traveling speed and other factors and alert the driver of a possible accident. If the system senses a threat, the vehicle's brakes are energized to buildup pressure in the brake lines to prepare for an emergency stop. The technology will also debut in the new Volvo S80.
Researchers are developing two new types of belts, the inflatable rear seatbelt and the four-point seatbelt. A strap of air bag material is hidden in the rear seat belt webbing, inflating the strap into a cylindrical shape when frontal airbags deploy. The four-point belt uses two shoulder straps that connect at the waist to provide more body support. Researchers believe this type of belt reduces crash absorption to the chest.