Ford and Chrysler both brought similar-sounding blind spot detection technologies to Detroit for SAE.
Ford plans to offer a blind spot mirror and a cross traffic alert with blind-spot monitoring system on MY2009 and future Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles.
Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development, said the blind spot mirror will be standard equipment on many vehicles. He described it as an outside rearview mirror with a secondary convex spotter in the top outer corner aimed at the driver’s blind spot. The blind spot mirror, which uses one continuous glass surface, unlike some aftermarket offerings, will replace traditional sideview mirrors.
The optional cross traffic alert with blind spot monitoring system is a radar-based blind spot detection system that can help customers back out of a parking space when traffic is approaching from the sides. The feature uses the blind spot detection system’s two multiple beam radar modules, which are located in the vehicle’s rear quarter panels. An indicator light on the corresponding sideview mirror is illuminated when another vehicle enters the defined blind spot. Cross traffic alert uses the radar when in reverse to pick up moving objects within a 65-foot range from either the left or right side of the vehicle. The radar also works when backing out of angled parking spaces.
Ford also offers a reverse sensing system and a rearview camera.
Chrysler’s rear cross path system warns drivers who are backing out of parking spaces of traffic moving toward their vehicle, but outside the driver’s field of vision. Drivers are notified of vehicle(s) crossing behind their vehicle via an illuminated icon on the sideview mirror, and with an audible chime. Rear Cross Path operates any time the vehicle is in Reverse. The feature will be available on the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan.
Chrysler’s blind spot monitoring system uses an illuminated icon on the sideview mirror to warn drivers when changing lanes if being passed by vehicles or when vehicles are positioned in the blind spot zone. If the turn signal is operated, an audible chime can act as an additional warning. The blind spot monitoring system uses dual ultra-wideband radar sensors and it’s active whenever the vehicle is moving forward. The feature will be available on the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan.
Frank Klegon, executive vice president, product development, said Chrysler is working on an in-vehicle wireless Internet connectivity system that will combine WiFi and 4G connectivity and transform the vehicle into a “hot spot” to deliver Internet and e-mail access, and movie and music download capability directly to the vehicle. An aftermarket in-vehicle “hot-spot” wireless Internet capability is planned for introduction later this year through Mopar (www.mopar.com) .
An active transfer case and front-axle disconnect combination seamlessly transitions between rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive with no driver intervention. When all-wheel-drive is not required, the system automatically disconnects the front axle and opens the transfer case from the drivetrain to reduce friction and rotational mass. The system provides optimal traction, performance, safety and an improvement in fuel economy of one mile per gallon. The feature will be available on the 2009 Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger.
Chrysler has also enhanced its rear-seat entertainment system for 2009 with a swivel third-row screen to allow passengers facing to the rear of the vehicle, via Chrysler’s Swivel ‘n Go seating system, to view the screen. Chrysler’s Vehicle Entertainment System includes dual DVD players and screens that deliver a variety of programming choices, with ports to connect games and portable media players. The driver and front-seat passenger can access all video sources on the front-passenger screen. The third-row rear-seat swivel screen is available on the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan. The Chrysler Vehicle Entertainment System is available on the 2009 Chrysler Aspen, 300, Sebring, Jeep(R) Grand Cherokee, Commander and Dodge Durango, Charger, Ram, Journey, Avenger and Nitro.
Chrysler’s UConnect Bluetooth hands-free system can now download up to 1,000 phone book entries per phone, automatically. The 2009 Chrysler voice-activated system is available on the 2009 Chrysler Aspen, 300, Sebring, Town & Country, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Commander, Liberty, Patriot, Compass and Dodge Grand Caravan, Charger, Challenger, Nitro, Durango, Dakota, Ram, Caliber, Avenger and Journey. Full iPod integration into the audio system is available on the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country, 300, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Commander, Compass, Patriot and Dodge Grand Caravan, Challenger, Charger and Journey.
Klegon also said Chrysler’s product development team has created a proprietary knowledge-based engineering system to speed vehicle development time. Engineers used it to develop the Dodge Challenger in 21 months, slicing several months off the normal vehicle development time.