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Connectivity

Ford Focus Offers CoPilot360 ADAS Suite, WiFi Connectivity

by Nathan Eddy
Ford announced the global debut of the Focus sedan this week, which comes equipped with high-speed Internet connectivity and CoPilot360, a suite of advanced driver assist system (ADAS) features.

The Focus will also feature FordPass Connect embedded modem technology, allowing Ford customers to turn their vehicle into a mobile WiFi hotspot with connectivity for up to ten devices -- the company is aiming to make 90% of its new global vehicles Internet equipped by 2020.

Other connected car features include optional wireless charging for mobile devices, which is located beneath the instrument panel.

Ford noted mobile devices can remain connected through Bluetooth to the vehicle's SYNC 3 communications and entertainment system while simultaneously using wireless charging.

The SYNC 3 platform, which lets allows drivers to control audio, navigation and climate functions using voice commands, also boasts an eight-inch LCD touchscreen, which uses pinch and swipe gestures, and is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto platforms.

Meanwhile, the FordPass Connect mobile app boasts a vehicle locator, a vehicle status feature for checking fuel levels, alarm status and oil life, a remote door lock feature and a remote start feature.

Other optional technologies -- which Ford noted would vary by region --include Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) enhanced with speed sign recognition, lane-centering and a feature called "Stop & Go" for more easily negotiating heavy traffic situations.

In addition, an updated version of the active park assist feature now operates gear selection, acceleration and braking to enable completely automated maneuvers.

When engaged, the system starts by helping the driver identify a suitable parking space, and once the driver shifts into reverse, the system will steer the vehicle into the space.

Among the other ADAS features is Evasive Steering Assist, which uses radar and a camera to detect slower moving and stationary vehicles ahead, and provides steering support, which enables drivers to avoid a vehicle if a collision is imminent.

The Focus's Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFLS) can adjust the headlight beam angle and intensity to one of seven settings according to speed, ambient light, steering angle, distance to the vehicle in front and windscreen wiper activation.

New features for the AFLS include a camera-based predictive curve light that can pre-adjust headlamp patterns for improved visibility by monitoring bends in the road, and a light that monitors road signs.

The Focus goes on sale in Europe and China this year and North America in 2019, and features four-door sedan, five-door estate/wagon and five-door hatchback body styles, depending on the market.

Owners of older Fords are also getting the chance to bring their vehicles up to digital speed, as it were.

In March, the company announced the launch of SmartLink, a device that plugs into the OBD II port below the steering wheel and provides Ford vehicles with connectivity features normally available only on newer models equipped with modems.

SmartLink enables owners of Ford vehicles, made between 2010 and 2017, to extend the range of their key fob to their smartphone, and provides a WiFi hotspot as well as vehicle health, security and location alerts.

Nathan Eddy is a filmmaker and freelance journalist based in Berlin. Follow him on Twitter @dropdeaded209_LR.

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