Ford is releasing new advanced driver assistance system in late 2018

Key Points
  • Ford is releasing a new driver assistance system providing broad functionality.
  • It is another step in Ford's push for more tech in its vehicles.
Ford Motor Company president and CEO James Hackett
Rebecca Cook | Reuters

Ford will release a new advanced driver assistance system later this year that it says will beat systems offered by rivals Chevrolet, Toyota and Honda, the company said Thursday.

The move is another step in Ford's long-term plan to include more technology in its products in the race toward smarter, more autonomous vehicles. The automaker has been battling perceptions among investors that it has been late in responding to the push for high-tech vehicles.

Called Ford Co-Pilot, the system can automatically brake to avoid collisions with vehicles or pedestrians and alert drivers when a vehicle is entering a blind spot. It can also alert them when cross traffic is approaching from behind, useful when the driver is backing out of a driveway or parking spot. It also helps the car stay in lanes and alert the driver if the vehicle is drifting sideways. Finally it has automatic high beams and a reverse camera.

Cars from competitors Honda, Chevrolet and Toyota all have at least one of these features, but Ford says only its new system will have all. Other systems, such as those offered by higher-end luxury brands such as Cadillac and Tesla, offer more features than Ford's system.

Ford has already announced several investments in new technologies to beef up its presence in the push for new mobility services. The automaker is investing a total of $1 billion over five years in Argo AI, an autonomous vehicle start-up, and has begun offering services in its cars such as Waze, a mapping application, and integration with Amazon's voice assistant tech, Alexa.

Ford also has announced partnerships with ride-hailing firm Lyft, Postmates and Domino's Pizza to explore the development of autonomous driving tech for various commercial purposes.

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