Ford's safety jackpot
Ford is crowing about the success of its FG model Falcon in Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) testing. The petrol FG Falcon sedan range was awarded the maximum five-star safety rating with a total score of 34.6 points (out of a possible 37 points), the highest score ever recorded by an Australian-built car.
The FG Falcon’s five-star score places it in the top seven percent of all published ANCAP results, as well as in the top 24 percent of published ANCAP five-star results.
When it was developing the FG Falcon, Ford investigated more than 38 different vehicle crash modes, with 426 full vehicle-representative physical crash tests and more than 5000 simulated crash tests completed.
The petrol FG Falcon sedan scored maximum points in two of the three physical crash tests performed by ANCAP.
To be awarded a maximum five-star rating, in addition to scoring at least 32.5 points overall (including pole test and seatbelt reminders), a vehicle must score at least 12.5 points in the offset and side impact tests. At least one point must be achieved in the pole impact test, and the vehicle must be equipped with Electronic Stability Control.
Head-protecting side airbags are fitted to all FGs; curtain and side thorax airbags are standard on G6E and G6E Turbo models, and front seat head/thorax side airbags are standard on other models. Curtain airbags are also optional on other models.
Dual stage driver airbag and front passenger airbag are standard, as are front passenger and driver Beltminders, which remind them to fasten their seatbelt once the vehicle begins to move.
Incorporating weight and seat belt buckle sensors, the new passenger Beltminder detects if a passenger is using the front seat and not wearing a seatbelt.
The sensor in the buckle informs the Advanced Restraints Module (ARM – the ISS’s electronic brain) if the front passenger isn’t wearing a seat belt.
The ARM provides this information to the instrument cluster, which activates the Beltminder chime and warning light when the vehicle speed exceeds 5kph. The chime and warning light repeats every 30 seconds for about five minutes.
The driver’s Beltminder debuted on the BA Falcon in 2002. Senior Ford engineer, Adam Frost, says the system has proven effective in reminding drivers to buckle up and in countering driver reluctance, especially if the journey is short and the perception of danger is low.
“[Most] people respond to friendly reminders and the percentage of people who steadfastly refuse to wear seatbelts is very low,” said Frost.
“The extension of the Beltminder system to front seat passengers will increase the acceptance of the reminder system even further and allow drivers to be sure that their front passenger is appropriately protected when the vehicle is moving.”
All petrol FG sedans have Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) with Traction Control (calibrated for individual models) and a passenger safety cell that incorporates high strength steels, including ultra high strength Boron, to provide extra rigidity, along with new load paths to direct crash forces away from occupants.
There is also an intelligent crash sensing system with door pressure sensors and dual upfront sensors, which instantly and accurately determine the severity of a crash and activate the necessary safety equipment.
Every active safety system developed for the all-new FG Falcon sedan was optimised to provide drivers with the best possible chance of avoiding collisions. DSC is standard with Traction Control (TCS) and an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA). The Falcon’s DSC system has been retuned to suit the combination of new engine, transmissions and suspension designs and calibrations in the FG.
A reversing camera, activated automatically when reverse gear is selected, provides a 130 degree wide angle view up to 10 metres behind the vehicle.The reverse camera is standard on G6E and G6E Turbo and available as an option on most other models.
A reverse sensing system warns drivers of obstacles at or near the rear of the vehicle. On high series vehicles, the system supplements the audible warnings with visual aids indicating the distance from an object.
The system works via four sensors in the rear bumper. An electronic control unit (ECU) recognises when a sensor has detected an obstacle and determines its distance from the vehicle – this measurement is based on the principle of echo-location.
The ECU then emits an audible impulse tone, with the rate of the tone proportional to the distance the obstacle is from the vehicle. If the obstacle passes within 45 centimetres, the ECU emits a continuous tone. After continuous periods of driving, a fatigue warning sounds to remind the driver to rest. The fatigue warning is generally set at two hours but can be modified according to driver preferences.
A range of new tyres was specifically developed for the FG Falcon range, bringing improvements in road noise, wet grip, dry grip and handling, steering compliance, ride, rolling resistance and steering linearity.
Check back next week for more info on the Falcon's safety engineering