Ford To Introduce Curve Control For All-new 2011 Explorer
Traditional stability control can help drivers avoid rollovers and stay out of slick messes. With mandatory stability control looming large for 2012, Ford is taking stability control to a new level by introducing "curve control" for its 2011 Explorer, to help turn the SUV if the driver takes a turn too quickly.
While traditional stability control cuts power to the engine and brakes individual wheels to keep the car pointed in the right direction, curve control uses the stability control sensors to monitor vehicle inputs and dynamics 100 times per second. Curve control can intelligently apply the Explorer's brakes, rather than cut power sharply.
Ford's new curve control system works in conjunction with the driver's own braking action to add more pressure to individual brakes. This works in a similar fashion to several other automakers' electronic limited-slip differentials that brake the inside rear wheel in a turn to help the car corner better. In the case of the Explorer's curve control, the system will apply braking pressure to all four wheels, but apply more pressure to the two inside wheels. This slows the wheels on one side of the vehicle to help the car rotate and can drop the vehicle's speed by as much as 10 mph in one second.
Stability control systems effectively control oversteer -- when the rear end loses traction and swings out, which can lead to a spin -- but do little for understeer -- when the driver inputs steering but the car continues straight. In practical terms, Ford's curve control will help overzealous drivers to avoid plowing straight into oncoming traffic or a tree.
"Something like this, we've all done it, and you can appreciate why you would need it," Tony Rendi, Ford's brake control manager, told The Detroit News. Ford says that there are more than 50,000 crashes on the U.S.'s curves each year.
In addition to making the new safety aid standard on the 2011 Explorer, Ford plans to add it to 90 percent of its North American SUVs, trucks, vans, and crossovers by 2015. The system debuts on the new Explorer, due out later this year.
Source: The Detroit News