A new technology available for Ford Police Interceptor will provide an additional measure of security for law enforcement officers by mitigating their risk of being snuck up on from the rear while working in their vehicles, especially at night.
The new surveillance mode technology works by using existing Ford driver-assist technologies – a backup camera, cross-traffic alert and reverse park assist – to give police officers added situational awareness and a first line of defense from potential assailants.
When an officer activates the system with the vehicle in park, the backup camera, combined with sensors that detect blind spots and parking obstacles, continually monitors the area to the rear of the vehicle. Surveillance mode can be turned off in situations such as curbside urban settings where pedestrians would constantly set the alarm off.
The patent-pending idea is the brainchild of Randy Freiburger, Ford police and ambulance fleet supervisor. Freiburger spent many hours riding along with police officers and saw firsthand the dangers officers face in the course of routine patrols and investigations.
“I can tell you from personal experience at night that officer security is a critical concern,” says Freiburger. “Unfortunately, there are people with bad intentions who sneak up on police officers. This system builds upon the Ford Police Interceptor DNA that puts safety and security at the top of the list.”
Officers have to write reports, monitor an in-car computer or radar gun, and perform other tasks while sitting in their vehicle. Surveillance mode gives them an extra set of eyes to help guard against threats – especially at night when visibility is compromised.
A nine-month advanced research project conducted by Ford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) New England University Transportation Center revealed drivers are less stressed while performing high-stress tasks like parallel parking when using selected new technological advancements. This study is an extension of an ongoing alliance between Ford and MIT to improve driver focus, wellness and safety through the integration of vehicle technology.
Physiological measures to detect stress were monitored using a specially equipped 2010 Lincoln MKS test vehicle. The use of advanced technology resulted in a more than 12 beats per minute (bpm) reduction in heart rate while parallel parking. When backing out of parking spaces with the Ford Motor Company Cross-Traffic Alert, drivers were more likely to appropriately stop and yield to an approaching vehicle than when the system was unavailable.
For the past seven years, Ford has been actively collaborating with MIT’s New England University Transportation Center to understand the correlation between stressors and driving performance and identify technological advancements that both mitigate stress and create a more enjoyable experience.
In the study of the Active Park Assist system, data were collected from 42 subjects equally distributed between males and females across three age groups – drivers in their 20s, 40s and 60s. Each of the test drivers was monitored using heart rate as an objective method of assessing driver workload and stress on the road. In addition, a subjective measure was monitored by asking subjects to rate their perceived stress level at the completion of each driving maneuver. Detailed evaluations of their experience and impressions of the technology were also collected at the end of the experiment.
“The substantial changes in the objective physiological markers of driver stress, coupled with changes in perceived stress, suggest that the driver’s well-being can be increased through this technology,” said Bryan Reimer, associate director of research, New England University Transportation Center at MIT.
A second experiment focused on Ford’s Cross-Traffic Alert technology. Using a methodology similar to the parallel parking study, drivers were given an opportunity to experience backing out of a blinded parking spot with and without Cross-Traffic Alert. The most notable finding was that at one point in the experiment, all drivers who received a traffic alert warning from the technology stopped and yielded to an approaching vehicle, while only 71 percent of the drivers backing out without the aid of the technology appropriately stopped.
“The point of technology in a vehicle is to help the driver; it’s to serve the driver and so if there is a particular task where it’s something the driver may not be familiar with a comfortable feeling all the time and we can help, by using technology, than that’s what we’re really going to do in our vehicles,” said Jeff Greenberg, Senior Technical Leader in the Ford Research Laboratory.
Source: The Ford Story
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