A car that takes control of the steering wheel when it detects the risk of a collision is being tested at a research facility in Germany. Ford said the Obstacle Avoidance system first warned the driver of danger and then took charge if they did not react. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24464480
The firm said the equipment had been fitted to one of its Focus-branded vehicles as part of a project involving other carmakers and suppliers.
One analyst said it was a staging post on the route to “driverless cars”.
The system scans up to 200m (650ft) ahead by using three radars, a number of ultrasonic sensors and a camera, which are all installed in the vehicle.
An additional built-in display shows a warning sign and sounds a chime. Then, if necessary, it applies the brakes, scans for a gap in the road ahead, and steers to avoid a crash.
Ford’s existing Active City Stop facility also aims to reduce the severity of collisions by applying the brakes if it detects an object in front of the vehicle. But it works only if the object is static or travelling less than 30km/h (19mph) faster than the car.
Other manufactures involved in the project at Aachen include BMW, Fiat, Daimler, Volvo and Volkswagen. They will share data from the tests to develop systems of their own.
Volvo – which is owned by China’s Geely – has already introduced its own pedestrian and cyclist alert system, which sounds an alarm and applies the brakes. The firm told the BBC in March that it was now adapting the system so it would soon be able to recognise animals.
There may be resistance from some to the idea of a car taking control from its driver.
“But autonomous vehicles are already being tested by Google, Daimler and others, and taking steering control in any situation is obviously a pretty significant step along the road.”