Ford has introduced sophisticated artificial intelligence technology to the new Ford Edge sports utility vehicle that delivers greater confidence for drivers in slippery conditions while helping them save fuel when extra grip is not needed.
Ford has for some time offered Intelligent All-Wheel Drive technology for vehicles including the Ford EcoSport, Edge, Galaxy, Kuga, Mondeo and S-MAX, which measures how the car’s wheels are gripping the road surface and can adjust torque delivery between the front and rear wheels in under 20 milliseconds – twenty times quicker than it takes to blink – for a more secure footing on the road.
New all-wheel drive disconnect technology that debuts on the new Ford Edge goes one step further, using information from dozens of high-tech sensors to determine in a fraction of a second whether Intelligent All-Wheel Drive is needed, and deliver a fuel saving of approximately 6.5 per cent while operating in front-wheel drive mode.
In favourable driving conditions, the new Edge will remain in two-wheel drive mode helping to improve fuel efficiency. However, when the driving conditions are more challenging it will seamlessly switch to Intelligent All-Wheel Drive, providing optimised traction.
“The concept is pretty simple, it was the execution that was the challenge,” said Scott Beiring, Ford driveline applications supervisor. “Shifting between two- and all-wheel drive needs to be fast and seamless enough that the customer doesn’t know it is happening.”
All-wheel drive disconnect uses a dedicated electronic brain to monitor inputs from systems including traction control and anti-lock brakes to determine wheel spin and slip; windscreen wipers and outside temperature to determine weather conditions; and even monitors if the new Edge is being used to tow a trailer.
An algorithm that uses “fuzzy logic” processes all the data, taking just 10 milliseconds to determine if front-wheel drive or Intelligent All-Wheel Drive is optimal.
“‘Fuzzy logic’ refers to the algorithm,” Beiring said. “It’s like you or me determining what to wear based on reading a weather forecast, where we’re going, the time of year and looking outside. In the case of the new Edge, just because the windshield wipers are on doesn’t mean Intelligent All-Wheel Drive is going to engage. The algorithm makes the call based on a variety of things that are happening – but much faster than a person could process.
“There are similar systems out there, but none quite like this. The fact that we’re able to switch seamlessly and without any input from the driver, that’s the real magic.”
More tech to burn less fuel
All-wheel drive disconnect is just one of the technologies helping new Edge drivers reduce their fuel costs.
Ford’s 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel engine with 150 PS and 190 PS power outputs – and with 238 PS in bi-turbo form – delivers the power, torque and driving performance of a larger capacity engine alongside the fuel efficiency and low CO2 emissions synonymous with a smaller engine capacity. *
A new eight-speed automatic gearbox helps drivers use the engine’s performance more efficiently, and even features active transmission warm-up that uses reclaimed heat energy to warm the transmission to optimal temperature faster.
Standard Auto Start-Stop helps save fuel by shutting off the engine when the vehicle comes to a stop and automatically restarts quickly when the driver wants to pull away again.
150 PS 2.0-litre EcoBlue delivers from 5.8 l/100 km fuel efficiency and 153 g/km CO2 emissions
190 PS 2.0-litre EcoBlue delivers from 6.0 l/100 km fuel efficiency and 156 g/km CO2 emissions
238 PS 2.0-litre EcoBlue delivers from 6.7 l/100 km fuel efficiency and 175 g/km CO2 emissions
*The declared Fuel/Energy Consumptions, CO2 emissions and electric range are measured according to the technical requirements and specifications of the European Regulations (EC) 715/2007 and (EC) 692/2008 as last amended. Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are specified for a vehicle variant and not for a single car. The applied standard test procedure enables comparison between different vehicle types and different manufacturers. In addition to the fuel efficiency of a car, driving behaviour as well as other non-technical factors play a role in determining a car’s fuel/energy consumption, CO2 emissions and electric range. CO2 is the main greenhouse gas responsible for global warming.
From 1 September 2017, certain new vehicles will be type-approved using the World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) according (EU) 2017/1151 as last amended, which is a new, more realistic test procedure for measuring fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. From 1 September 2018 the WLTP will fully replace the New European Drive Cycle (NEDC), which is the current test procedure. During NEDC Phase-out, WLTP fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are being correlated back to NEDC. There will be some variance to the previous fuel economy and emissions as some elements of the tests have altered i.e., the same car might have different fuel consumption and CO2emissions.