Guess Which Ford Engineering Test Included a Running Dog

By Tori T.

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.
Alexander G 10/25/2012
What happens when its icy and someone slips because they are activating the sensor, could they not sue ford?
active merdge control?
Stephen H 06/03/2012
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.

Any rumors as to IF and WHEN Ford will have such a car? They are losing out.
Brian Paone 06/02/2012
I don't know, but it wasn't the part where they couldn't figure out how not to screw up the Triton engine.
Aaron Wesley DesJardins 06/02/2012
Scott Beauregard 06/01/2012
Picking up our 2013 Escape in less than an hour. It has it the tailgate feature, so can't wait to test it out !!
David Watson 06/01/2012
2013 Ford Escape hands free lift gate.
Mike Martin 06/01/2012
That's funny, Chuck.
Mark Fordman 06/01/2012
Backup camera?
Robert Shea 06/01/2012
Keyless entry
Russel Del Gesso 06/01/2012
The 5 mph bumper test and the air-bag deployment system??
Daniel Garza 06/01/2012
An autobraking system like volvo? Just that volvo's failed and the car crashed with the truck
Michael Schumacher (MSC) 06/01/2012
No idea...
Christian Red Corn Wagner 06/01/2012
When they started testing hybrids to see if they were actually faster than anything
Richard S. Jamieson 06/01/2012
Are you building mail trucks now?
Cj White 06/01/2012
The ford truck horse power test? Hahaha;p
Wayne Fields 06/01/2012
Hands free lift gate 2013 Escape
Christopher Morrison 06/01/2012
Reverse sensors
David Manuel Tapia Vazquez 06/01/2012
Orales "
Louie Gillis Nigro 06/01/2012
traney test ...drop da traney test lol
کسرا محجوبی 06/01/2012
The clearance or mating envelope between the tires and the wheel well when a shock load occurs ;-) ?
Chuck Kreiner 06/01/2012
racing a Camaro?
Brent Robles 06/01/2012
No I failed lol
Casey Payne 06/01/2012
crash test
Brent Robles 06/01/2012
Hmmm... anti lock disc brakes??
Guess Which Ford Engineering Test Included a Running Dog
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