Thanks to Ford’s front camera, drivers will be able to see round corners at previously blind junctions. It’s hoped the new technology could prevent accidents caused by drivers edging out in order to see if their path is clear. With Ford’s front camera, drivers just have to inch the nose of their car out at the junction. The camera, installed in the front grille, then offers a 180-degree view of approaching traffic. It means drivers don’t have to put themselves, their cars or other road users in jeopardy when they want to pull out. Here’s how it works.
Ford’s front camera: Can it really see round corners?
The camera doesn’t literally see round corners, but it sees round them before a car’s driver can. It’s a one megapixel video camera located in the grille of the car. This is a mere 33mm wide but is big enough to transmit a 180-degree view from the front of the car to the same eight-inch colour touch screen that the sat nav uses inside the car. It enables drivers to see approaching vehicles, pedestrians or cyclists without having to edge out until they can see or hear them from the driver’s seat.
Ford’s front camera: Are accidents at junctions a big problem?
The European Road Safety Observatory claims that its information indicates around 19 per cent of accidents involving vehicles at junctions are caused by drivers not being able to see properly. According to the Department for Transport (DfT), 11 per cent of all road accidents in 2013 were prompted by ‘vision affected by external factors’.
Ford’s front camera: Does it work in all conditions?
Ford claims to have tested its front camera in a variety of conditions. The lens is kept clean by a specially designed retractable jet washer that works when the windscreen wipers are on. Ford’s Ronny Hause added: “From sunrise to sunset we tested the Front Split View Camera on all kinds of roads, congested urban streets and areas with a lot of cyclists and pedestrians. Tackling tunnels, narrow alleys and garages in all light conditions also meant we could ensure the technology worked well, even when sunlight was shining directly into the camera.”
Ford’s front camera: What the boffins say
Ronny Hause, engineer for Driver Assistance Electronic Systems at Ford, said: “It’s not just blind junctions that can be stressful. Sometimes an overhanging tree, or bushes can be the problem. Simply driving off driveways can be a challenge. Much like a rear-view camera, Front Split View Camera is one of those technologies that people will soon find indispensable.”
Ford’s front camera: Which cars is it on and for how much?
The Front Split View Camera can be ordered as an optional extra on the all-new Ford Galaxy and S-MAX MPVs. Prices start from £27,595 and £25,245 respectively with the front camera (as well as a rear parking camera) a £400 option. It will also be available on the all-new Ford Edge SUV which goes on sale later this year. A camera like this has been available on top of the range executive models such as BMWs for some time. This is the first time this technology has been offered on family cars.