- - Thursday, March 1, 2012

Ford has confirmed that it will add its voice-activated in-car connectivity system SYNC featuring Emergency Assistance to the Focus in 2012, raising the car’s already class-leading levels of technology to new heights.

The Emergency Assistance feature directly connects the vehicle occupants to local emergency services operators after an accident, in the correct language for the region. It’s the most advanced system of its type and will be available in more than 30 countries across Europe and beyond.

The activation of an airbag or the vehicle’s emergency fuel pump shut-off prompts the vehicle to initiate an emergency call, using a pre-recorded message, through the occupant’s Bluetooth connected mobile phone. The message is even transmitted in the appropriate local language based on the GPS coordinates of the vehicle.

SYNC also will allow voice-activation of phone and digital music player functions with instructions such as “call (contact name)” or “play artist (artist name)”, while providing seamless Bluetooth mobile device connection and integration of iPod and flash drive file storage devices through USB. It will even read aloud SMS text messages from compatible devices and send pre-defined responses.

“Safety, comfort and convenience were key objectives when we developed and launched the Focus,” said Gunnar Herrmann, Ford global C-car vehicle line director. “Enhancing the Focus technology package is an on-going process as will be demonstrated by the arrival of SYNC and Emergency Assistance.”

The Ford Focus already features an extensive range of driver assistance and safety features that helped earn it recognition as Europe’s Best-in-Class small family car for 2011, from Euro NCAP, the leading authority on auto safety in Europe.

The technologies which earned Focus four Euro NCAP Advanced rewards are:

• Forward Alert, which is designed to warn the driver via the cluster display and through an audible chime if there is a risk of a rear-end collision with the vehicle in front, and pre-charges the brakes to enable quicker response when the driver presses the brake pedal

• Driver Alert, which uses lane information collected from the Focus’ digital camera system and vehicle information to calculate a vigilance level for the driver and deliver a two-stage warning through the instrument cluster and an audible chime if it determines that the driver could be tired or even falling asleep.

• Active City Stop, which is designed to help drivers avoid low speed collisions using a forward-facing infra-red camera to detect objects in front of the car and automatically apply the brakes if the driver fails to respond

• Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping Aid, which use the Focus’ forward looking camera to monitor the vehicle’s position relative to the road markings and alert the driver visually and with feedback through the steering wheel when unintentional lane-drifting is detected

Further Focus technologies include:

• Traffic Sign Recognition, which uses the Ford digital camera to identify traffic signs and provide the driver with information about the latest detected speed limit, cancellation signs and overtaking regulations via the instrument cluster display

• Auto High Beam, which switches the headlamps automatically between high-beam and dipped-beam when oncoming light sources are detected, helping the driver to maximise visibility and avoid the distraction of switching the lamps manually

• Active Park Assist, which supports the driver by scanning the roadside for large enough gaps between parked cars and automatically steering the vehicle into parallel parking spaces whilst the driver controls the accelerator and brakes.

• Blind Spot Information System, which is designed to improve driver awareness by alerting them to situations when a passing vehicle is detected in their blind spot zones on both left and right sides of the vehicle

• Adaptive Cruise Control, which helps to maintain a comfortable distance to other vehicles, with automatic deceleration and acceleration to a pre-set speed

• Speed Limiter, which allows drivers to set their own personal speed limit, so that in demanding conditions such as in unfamiliar city streets or passing through extended road-works on the motorway, they can concentrate on the road ahead without the worry of unintentionally driving too fast

The new, third generation Ford Focus set a new benchmark for technology in the European compact family car segment when it went on sale in 2010.

Available equipped with fuel-saving Ford ECOnetic Technology and advanced EcoBoost petrol engines, including the new 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine with class-leading fuel economy, and Duratorq diesel turbocharged engines, Ford has also announced that performance-tuned Focus ST and zero-emission Focus Electric versions will be available later this year.

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