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SEATTLE FEARS DANGEROUS DRIVERS AND BELIEVES TECHNOLOGY BENEFICIAL TO LESSEN RISK; FORD SMART MOBILITY TOUR SHOWCASES TECHNOLOGIES TO HELP
by Staff Report


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Seattle residents fear dangerous drivers, but more than half who responded to a survey say they would find blind spot monitoring and rearview back-up camera technology useful to lessen the risk – according to an independent study commissioned by Ford, which brings its Ford Smart Mobility Tour to town.







A majority of Seattle residents fear dangerous drivers – according to a recent survey.



The survey, conducted by independent research company Penn Schoen Berland, examined driving-related fears, as well as public receptiveness to driver-assist and semi-autonomous technologies designed to ease driver anxiety and commuting hassles.



Dangerous drivers are the top concern for Seattle residents, the survey found. Three out of five said they are afraid of dangerous drivers on the road when driving themselves, or when being driven by others. Moreover:





  • 74 percent find monitoring blind spots concerning

  • 73 percent are concerned about not being able to see all angles when backing up

  • 71 percent are concerned about backing up into a busy street



Most in Seattle say technology that can alleviate these driving concerns is compelling. The survey found:





  • Nine in 10 would be more comfortable driving a car with blind spot detection technology; 73 percent would describe such technology as “useful”

  • Nine in 10 would be more comfortable driving a car with a rearview camera; 69 percent would describe such technology as “useful”



Ford Smart Mobility Tour



This week Ford brings its Ford Smart Mobility Tour to Seattle. The tour highlights the company’s driver-assist features that can help address driving-related fears, including Blind Spot Information System and semi-autonomous driving technologies – along with theFord Smart Mobility plan.



Ford Smart Mobility is the company’s plan to take it to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and big data. Ford introduced the plan in January, along with 25 initial experiments aimed at better understanding consumers’ mobility needs around the globe.



“Our smart mobility vision at Ford is about changing the way the world moves,” said Ken Washington, Ford vice president, Research and Innovation. “We are transitioning from experimentation to the start of implementation, beginning with theGo Drive and Peer to Peer car sharing pilots. Our goal is to make people’s lives better by helping them more easily navigate to where they want to go, using one or more interconnected modes of transportation.”



Multimodal mobility solutions



In many cities, driving your vehicle directly from home to work is not feasible. Ford believes solutions for multimodal journeys can make travel to and within urban areas more convenient. The company is studying how electric bicycles and mobile application technology can work seamlessly with cars and public transport to deliver faster and easier daily commutes and help businesses operating in urban environments.



Ford’s electric bicycle experiments include:





  • MoDe:Me, introduced in March, is intended to keep the urban commuter moving in congested traffic

  • MoDe:Prois built for urban commercial use, and is designed to stow in a commercial vehicle such as Ford Transit Connect

  • MoDe:Flexis easily reconfigurable for different customer needs. The bike’s center frame assembly includes the motor and battery, while the front and rear assemblies and wheels can be configured for road, mountain or city riding



Ford’s electric bicycle prototypes fold easily into Ford vehicles, and integrate seamlessly with theMoDe:Link app, which can be paired with a smartwatch.



This includes the “no sweat” mode, which increases electric pedal assist based on heart rate – ensuring a rider gets to his or her destination without breaking a sweat. The app also provides safety notifications. Hazards, such as potholes ahead, are signaled through vibrating handlebars.



Driver-assist and semi-autonomous technologies



To improve today’s driving experience, Ford has introduced driver-assist and semi-autonomous technologies such as active park assist to help drivers parallel and perpendicular park more easily, as well as a lane-keeping aid to help drivers stay in their lane. Driver-assist technologies include BLIS®– which alerts drivers to vehicles detected entering their blind spots.



To stay connected while in motion,SYNC®3, Ford’s all-new communications and entertainment system, features faster performance and conversational voice recognition, along with an available intuitive smartphone-like touch screen.



Ford offers more vehicle nameplates in the United States with active park assist, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning with lane-keeping aid and blind spot monitoring than any other manufacturer – according to automotive research firm SBD. Ford also leads in four segments, offering vehicles with the most available driver-assist features among mainstream vehicles in the country:





  • Large light-duty pickup – F-150

  • Midsize SUV – Edge and Explorer

  • Midsize car – Fusion

  • Large car – Taurus



Ford will also demonstrate its new Pro Trailer Backup Assist feature that will be available on the 2016 F-150. The technology helps to ease the anxiety level of backing a trailer – which can be a challenging task for the novice and tricky even for those with trailering experience.



Seattle and STEM



Seattle is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, according to 2014 U.S. Census figures, due in part to a surge in employment opportunities. The city is a budding tech hot spot. With an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, the Ford Smart Mobility Tour visitsTechnology Access Foundationin Federal Way. Students at TAF Academy will have the opportunity to interact with Ford experts and see firsthand possibilities that could await them in the automotive industry in the future. Ford will present Technology Access Foundation with a $5,000 donation this week.



The Ford Smart Mobility Tour will also visit Denver and Los Angeles.



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