Guess Which Ford Engineering Test Included a Running Dog
JUN
01

Ford takes its engineering testing to the extremes, but also keeps it real. So, when it came time to ensure one of the coolest new technologies on the 2013 Escape would function exactly how you would want, things got a little interesting.

You see, the new hands-free liftgate was pitted against various scenarios to make sure it wouldn’t open unprompted, rather only when you wanted it to. The sensor-based system needs only a gentle kicking motion under the center of the rear bumper to unlock and raise the liftgate when you have the Escape key fob in your hand, pocket or bag. You don’t have to set down packages or dig around for your keys when your hands are full. Voila, quick and easy access to the cargo area. The same motion closes the hatch.

The sensors, located between the tailpipes, detect both the shin and kicking motion of the key holder. The combination of that motion and the signals sent between the vehicle and the key fob activates the system. The system safeguards against accidental openings by being programmed to open with leg motion and the breaking of a miniature electric field.

To ensure it would not accidentally open, the system was tested at minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit in a climate chamber to freeze the bumper – not only did it not open unintentionally, it still opened when the test subject needed it to. High heat and monsoon-like rain were also levels of testing. Same results.

Then the liftgate system was pitted against what we all run into every day: an out-of-control shopping cart hitting the rear of the Escape, a bouncing basketball going under the liftgate, someone polishing the rear bumper and, yes, that dog – it was sent running underneath the bumper to fetch a stick, and since the system did not detect a kicking motion, it did not open in any of these situations. Random people passing along the street were also utilized to help the calibration process by giving “sample kicks.” You can watch video of the testing here.

Within the Ford lineup, this feature is available only on the new Escape, but it could lend a hand – or is that a foot? – in helping Ford improve other touch and gesture technology it’s testing.

Related Tags
escape
hands free
testing

25 COMMENTS ON THIS ARTICLE
Alexander G What happens when its icy and someone slips because they are activating the sensor, could they not sue ford?
1 year(s) ago via
active merdge control?
2 year(s) ago via
Stephen H When I was a kid, in 1958 (OK, so I am OLD), Ford had the '58 Skyliner, a beautiful full size HARD TOP convertible, FIFTY FOUR YEARS AGO. Now when almost every manufacturer has a hard top convertible, there is NOT a peep from FORD. I think that I hardtop MUSTANG convertible will pick up MANY new customers. I TRIED to find such a car by Ford and finally purchased a VW EOS, beautiful car, great ride and I get lots of comments from perfect strangers when I am parking it, leaving a parking spot and even at the train station. WHERE IS THE CHOICE OF A MUSTANG CONVERTIBLE? Any rumors as to IF and WHEN Ford will have such a car? They are losing out.
2 year(s) ago via
Brian Paone I don't know, but it wasn't the part where they couldn't figure out how not to screw up the Triton engine.
2 year(s) ago via Facebook
Aaron Wesley DesJardins Acceleration
2 year(s) ago via Facebook
Scott Beauregard Picking up our 2013 Escape in less than an hour. It has it the tailgate feature, so can't wait to test it out !!
2 year(s) ago via Facebook
David Watson 2013 Ford Escape hands free lift gate.
2 year(s) ago via Facebook
Mike Martin That's funny, Chuck.
2 year(s) ago via Facebook
Mark Fordman Backup camera?
2 year(s) ago via Facebook
Robert Shea Keyless entry
2 year(s) ago via Facebook
Russel Del Gesso The 5 mph bumper test and the air-bag deployment system??
2 year(s) ago via Facebook
Daniel Garza An autobraking system like volvo? Just that volvo's failed and the car crashed with the truck
2 year(s) ago via Facebook
Michael Schumacher (MSC) No idea...
2 year(s) ago via Facebook
Christian Red Corn Wagner When they started testing hybrids to see if they were actually faster than anything
2 year(s) ago via Facebook
Richard S. Jamieson Are you building mail trucks now?
2 year(s) ago via Facebook
Cj White The ford truck horse power test? Hahaha;p
2 year(s) ago via Facebook
Wayne Fields Hands free lift gate 2013 Escape
2 year(s) ago via Facebook
Christopher Morrison Reverse sensors
2 year(s) ago via Facebook
David Manuel Tapia Vazquez Orales "
2 year(s) ago via Facebook
Louie Gillis Nigro traney test ...drop da traney test lol
2 year(s) ago via Facebook
کسرا محجوبی The clearance or mating envelope between the tires and the wheel well when a shock load occurs ;-) ?
2 year(s) ago via Facebook
Chuck Kreiner racing a Camaro?
2 year(s) ago via Facebook
Brent Robles No I failed lol
2 year(s) ago via Facebook
Casey Payne crash test
2 year(s) ago via Facebook
Brent Robles Hmmm... anti lock disc brakes??
2 year(s) ago via Facebook
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