Automated “park” ADAS to prevent rollaways on 2017 Ford Fusion

Ford designed the ew 2017 Fusion with a rotary gear shift dial. The engineers realized there was an opportunity to address the problem of rollaways by designing smart software to assist the driver and reduce the potential for accidents under certain conditions.

“Return to Park” technology on the 2017 Fusion uses data from the vehicle’s extensive network of sensors to detect conditions that indicate the customer’s intent to exit the vehicle.

This smart technology can help drivers have extra peace of mind that their 2017 Fusion will select Park – as intended – even if they forget to turn the dial to “P” or accidently leave the car in another gear when parking.

This technology is designed to automatically shift your vehicle into ‘park’ when any of the following conditions occur:

  • You turn the vehicle off.
  • You open the driver’s door with your safety belt unlatched and the vehicle is stationary.
  • Your safety belt is unlatched while the driver’s door is open and the vehicle is stationary.

“When we decided to go with the new rotary shifter for the 2017 Ford Fusion, the team all sat together in a room to see what additional customer benefit we could bring to the table,” says Mark Zyskowski, global e-shift systems technical expert, “We thought about what we could add without getting in the way of normal day-to-day scenarios, and all agreed that a feature to help confirm Park is selected when exiting the vehicle seemed really worthwhile.”

Fusion engineers have worked hard to integrate this feature into normal, convenient operation for drivers. The system can detect that a driver has turned their vehicle off while moving, and will first shift into neutral until it slows down below 5 mph before shifting into park automatically. This feature is also designed not to operate if it detects the belted driver opens the door while the vehicle is moving, for example, to free a stuck coat tail, or if he’s inching into a parking space and wishes to see the lane markers. The feature is also designed not to operate when the Fusion is in ‘Stay in Neutral’ or ‘Neutral Tow’ modes.

So-called vehicle rollaways typically occur when drivers exit the vehicle when the engine is running and the transmission is not in “park,” resulting in unattended vehicle rollaway. Rollaway incidents may result in serious injuries to the driver as they exit the vehicle or to other pedestrians in the path of the rolling vehicle.

According to a National Highway Transportation Administration study published in August of 2016, a total of 360 people were killed in accidents involving unattended vehicles with no driver control between 2012 and 2014 – which is 19% of all non-occupants killed in non-traffic crashes every year. Furthermore, in an average year, about 2,000 people are injured in similar incidents.

How it Works?

The rotary gear shift dial has three different electronic modules monitoring the transmission and shifter which must all be in agreement for a command for a gear selection to be accepted. This is the same system that is capable of detecting and overriding other unintended scenarios such as shifting into reverse while driving at speeds above 5 mph.

Rotary gear shift dial with Return to Park is a standard feature on all 2017 Ford Fusion vehicles.