Ford's new junction tech
Ford has introduced forward-facing cameras for the S-Max and Galaxy to give drivers a better view at blind junctions. Available as an option, the 'Front Split View Camera' provides a 180-degree field of vision to spot approaching vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians.
Images are relayed in real-time to the eight-inch colour touch screen in the dashboard from a camera mounted in the front grille. The system is activated at the push of a button and a retractable washer jet operates whenever the windscreen wipers are used to keep the camera clean.
The technology has been tested in a range of conditions including tunnels, narrow alleys and garages. Work was carried out on congested urban streets in all light conditions from dawn to dusk; the camera is said to give a clear image even when the sun shines directly into the lens.
A significant number of accidents are reckoned to be caused by poor visibility. Statistics from the European Road Safety Observatory SafetyNet project indicated that 19 per cent of drivers involved in accidents at junctions experienced an obstructed view. A report by the Department of Transport in the UK stated that external factors affecting vision contributed to 11 per cent of all road accidents.
Keith Freeman, an AA Quality Training Manager in the UK, who also trains young drivers as part of the Ford Driving Skills for Life programme said: "Pulling out at a blind junction can be a tricky manoeuvre for new and experienced drivers alike. The best approach has traditionally been to simply lean forward to get the best view whilst creeping forwards with the windows wound down to listen for approaching vehicles, but cyclists are a particular risk as they can't be heard. This technology will certainly make emerging from anywhere with a restricted view so much safer and the experience less nerve-wracking for those behind the wheel."