L.A. Drivers Fear Backing Onto Busy Roads More Than Ghosts, Flying; Ford Showcases Tech to Make Life Easier

  •     Los Angeles drivers fear backing out onto a busy street more than ghosts or flying – according to an independent study commissioned by Ford, which brings its Ford Smart Mobility Tour to town
  •     Ford Smart Mobility is the company’s plan to use innovation to develop the next advances in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and big data. A major area of focus is multimodal transportation, including developing an app that facilitates routing and integrates seamlessly with vehicles and electric bikes
  •     To improve the driving experience, Ford has introduced several driver-assist technologies such as its Blind Spot Information System and Pro Trailer Backup Assist, as well as semi-autonomous technologies including a lane-keeping aid and active park assist
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 5, 2015 – Angelenos worry more about backing out onto a busy street than ghosts or flying – according to a recent survey.

The survey, conducted by independent research company Penn Schoen Berland, examined driving-related fears, as well as public receptiveness to driver-assist and semi-autonomous technologies designed to ease driver anxiety and commuting hassles.

More L.A. survey respondents said they are more afraid of backing out onto a busy street (26 percent) than ghosts (16 percent) or flying (15 percent). In fact, visibility while driving is a leading concern for Los Angeles drivers, the PSB survey found. Three out of four said monitoring blind spots is a concern, while seven out of 10 listed backing out onto a busy street is a concern, and not being able to see all angles when backing up or driving in low-visibility situations as worrisome.

L.A. drivers find technology to alleviate these driving worries both popular and compelling:

    Nearly seven in 10 said they are more likely to purchase a vehicle that includes technology to alert you if someone is in your blind spot, while six in 10 said they are more likely to buy one with a rear view camera

    Nine in 10 said they are more comfortable in a car with blind spot alert technology (and 61 percent are much more comfortable with it)

Most L.A. residents described blind spot alert technology as “useful” (63 percent) and “safe” (52 percent). Nearly 90 percent of L.A. residents said they would feel more comfortable driving a car with a rear view camera – 52 percent say they would be much more comfortable 6 in 10 described rear view cameras as “useful” - nearly half described the cameras as “safe.”

Ford Smart Mobility Tour

This week Ford brings its Ford Smart Mobility Tour to L.A. The tour highlights the company’s driver-assist features that can help address driving-related fears, including BLIS® and semi-autonomous driving technologies, along with the Ford Smart Mobility plan.

Ford Smart Mobility is the company’s plan to take it to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and big data. Ford introduced the plan at CES in January, 2015 along with 25 initial experiments aimed at better understanding consumers’ mobility needs around the globe.

“Our smart mobility vision at Ford is about changing the way the world moves,” said Ken Washington, Ford vice president, Research and Innovation. “We are transitioning from experimentation to the start of implementation, beginning with the Go Drive and Peer to Peer car sharing pilots. Our goal is to make people’s lives better by helping them more easily navigate to where they want to go, using one or more interconnected modes of transportation.”

In addition to the Smart Mobility Tour, Ford will host a panel discussion moderated by Susan Carpenter, motor critic at The Orange County Register and The Wheel Thing contributor at KPCC-FM. The panel will include:

    Mike Tinskey, director of vehicle electrification and infrastructure, Ford Motor Company

    Claire Bowin, city planner, Los Angeles City Planning Department

    Hilary Norton, executive director, Fixing Angelenos Stuck in Traffic (FAST)

    Brian Taylor, director, UCLA Institute for Transportation Studies

The event will commence at 10 a.m. today at the William Turner Gallery at Bergamot Station Arts Center in Santa Monica.

Driver-assist and semi-autonomous tech for today

To improve today’s driving experience, Ford has introduced driver-assist and semi-autonomous technologies such as active park assist to help drivers parallel and perpendicular park more easily. Driver-assist technologies include lane-keeping aid to help drivers stay in their lane and BLIS, which alerts drivers to vehicles detected entering their blind spots.

To stay connected while in motion, SYNC® 3, Ford’s all-new communications and entertainment system, features faster performance and conversational voice recognition, along with an available intuitive smartphone-like touch screen.

Ford offers more vehicle nameplates in the United States with active park assist, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning with lane-keeping aid and blind spot monitoring than any other manufacturer – according to automotive research firm SBD. Ford also leads in four segments, offering vehicles with the most available driver-assist features among mainstream vehicles in the country:

•     Large light-duty pickup – F-150

•     Midsize SUV – Edge and Explorer

•     Midsize car – Fusion

•     Large car – Taurus

Ford will demonstrate its new Pro Trailer Backup Assist feature that will be available on the 2016 F-150. The technology helps to ease the anxiety level of backing a trailer – which can be a challenging task for the novice and tricky even for those with trailering experience.

Multimodal mobility solutions

In many large cities, driving your vehicle directly from home to work is challenging due to traffic congestion. Ford believes solutions for multimodal journeys can make travel to and within urban areas more convenient. The company is studying how electric bicycles and mobile application technology can work seamlessly with cars and public transport to deliver faster and easier daily commutes and help businesses operating in urban environments.

Ford’s electric bicycle experiments include:

    MoDe:Me, introduced in March, is intended to keep the urban commuter moving in congested traffic

    MoDe:Pro is built for urban commercial use, and is designed to stow in a commercial vehicle such as Ford Transit Connect

    MoDe:Flex is easily reconfigurable for different customer needs. The bike’s center frame assembly includes the motor and battery, while the front and rear assemblies and wheels can be configured for road, mountain or city riding

Ford’s electric bicycle prototypes fold easily into Ford vehicles, and integrate seamlessly with the MoDe:Link app, which can be paired with a smartwatch.

This includes the “no sweat” mode, which increases electric pedal assist based on heart rate – ensuring a rider gets to his or her destination without breaking a sweat. The app also provides safety notifications. Hazards, such as potholes ahead, are signaled through vibrating

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Michigan, manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 195,000 employees and 66 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit http://corporate.ford.com.

About Penn Schoen Berland

Penn Schoen Berland (PSB), an independent research company, conducted the poll on behalf of Ford Motor Company among 1,500 general population respondents (age 18+) in the U.S. – with 300 in Louisville, 300 in Orlando, 300 in Los Angeles, 300 in Seattle and 300 in Denver. The online survey was conducted from Aug. 11-17, 2015. The margin of error for each city is +/- 5.66%.

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