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New Ford Focus will park itself

  • Push-button parking system can be operated from outside the car
  • Automatic obstacle avoidance technology also breaks cover
  • Likely to appear first on the new Focus in 2015

Ford has revealed technology developed to enable drivers to park at the touch of a button from inside or outside their car, as well as a prototype that combines automatic steering and braking to avoid collisions with vehicles or pedestrians.

The firm, who was the biggest-selling car manufacturer in the UK in 2012 and looks set to retain the title this year, believes safety will be key for future developments.

“The future for Ford means developing innovative products and technologies that help deliver a safer, more convenient, more desirable, more personalised and greener driving and ownership experience,” said Barb Samardzich, Ford’s European Product Development vice president.

“Ford Motor Company has always been one of the world’s leading pioneers and forward-thinkers. From the introduction of a whole new way of mass producing cars 100 years ago to the advanced safety and convenience features unveiled today, we continue to set the template and define the future for drivers and the automotive environment.”

Its Research and Advanced Engineering division harnessed developments made with existing Ford technologies including Active Park Assist and the Ford PowerShift transmission to produce a Focus equipped with the prototype Fully Assisted Parking Aid system.

The next-generation push-button parking technology can even be operated from outside the car by remote control and operates steering, gear selection and forward and reverse motion of the car.

Ford has also unveiled Obstacle Avoidance technology on the Focus, which issues warnings if it detects slow-moving objects, stationary obstacles or pedestrians in the lane ahead. If the driver fails to steer or brake following the warnings, the system automatically steers and brakes to avoid a collision.

These new technologies are prototypes only at the moment but, according to Ford, are likely to appear first on the Focus once the new model is launched in 2015.

It is as yet unknown if the technology will be available as standard or optional equipment when the new Focus goes on sale.