The New Ford Escape Will Offer A Feature That Will Test Driver’s Wii Skills
Much of the new technology being introduced in today’s vehicles is being adopted from smartphones. Automakers are adding features to allow drivers to be more connected with the outside world. The 2013-model year Ford Escape, however, is adapting game console technology to make the operation of the rear lift gate easier to use.
Owners of the new Escape will be able to open their liftgate with a motion of the leg. This is very similar to the technology deployed by Nintendo for its Wii console games, and video games on the Xbox Kinect. The system relies on two sensors mounted between the Escape’s tailpipes to create an electronic field. The driver makes a kicking motion to break the plane of the electronic field. The sensors detect first a human shin and then a foot. When the shin and foot are retracted in an opposite motion, the liftgate will open.
While this operation sounds simple, Ford engineers and software designers needed to develop a system that would not open at inappropriate times. They also needed to take into account the various heights of the driver, with men generally being taller than women.
The hands free power liftgate is available on the 2013 Ford Escape SEL as part of Equipment Group 302A; MSRP of the option package is $2,360. Ford has declined to disclose if this technology will be adapted to other models. A lot will depend on the option’s reliability and how it is embraced by the customer.