Ford tests braking technology in Parisian rush hour

Ford has put its new automatic braking technology through its paces with the ultimate test of rigour, navigating through the congested streets of Paris.

The French capital carries a deadly reputation as being one of the most stressful places to drive in the continent, which Ford saw as the perfect opportunity to further refine the new Active City Stop technology.

Ford Active City Stop

Active City Stop is the carmaker’s revolutionary technology designed to help drivers avoid collisions at low speeds. At speeds of up to 19mph, the technology scans the road seven meters ahead to detect potential threats.

If the vehicle detects an obstruction ahead, the technology automatically applies the brakes and cuts engine power in order to avoid crashing.

The Active City Stop technology has been available on Ford models including the Focus, Fiesta and award-winning C-MAX from 2011.

The new and enhanced version, which operates at speeds of up to 30mph is due to debut on the new Ford Focus when it goes on sale later this year.

Toughest driving conditions in Europe

Having conducted extensive closed track testing, Ford’s engineers decided to turn to a real-world environment to further test the technology, putting Active City Stop through some of the toughest driving conditions in Europe.

Paris, therefore, seemed like an ideal option with its bumper-to-bumper traffic, dangerous junctions and drivers pushing through the tiniest of gaps.

Nils Gerber, a technical expert for Ford of Europe, said: “Paris streets are not for the faint-hearted, with multiple lanes of fast-moving traffic competing for space, and busy junctions testing the nerves of even skilled drivers.

“We knew these streets would be perfect to help test Active City Stop in conditions that are simply not possible to replicate on the test track.”

Professional drivers tested the equipment on the busy Parisian streets, through notorious junctions such as the Place de l’Etoile at Arc de Triomphe, where 12 major avenues converge.

The automatic braking function was disabled during the tests for safety purposes, however engineers were able to monitor the system to see when it would have deployed, and to ensure the brakes were only triggered when there was a risk of rear-end collisions.

Pascal Houssais, a professional chauffeur and Ford tester, said: “Paris is a very good place for this kind of test, you encounter all kinds of driving situations. Drivers can be very unpredictable, changing lanes without any warning, and people are always in a hurry.”

As well as the new Active City Stop, the new Focus model will also introduce Perpendicular Parking technology to help drivers reverse into spaces.

The latest Focus will go on sale in Europe later in the year, while the current model has a starting price of £13,995.