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2011 Ford Fiesta Aims For Annoyance Avoidance With Three-Blink Tech

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2011 Ford Fiesta

2011 Ford Fiesta

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The 2011 Ford Fiesta has garnered loads of attention in recent months. It's been popular with drivers and journalists, and it's been the subject of a highly successful marketing campaign. Now there's yet another reason to look forward to the Fiesta's U.S. release: it will be the first American Ford vehicle to offer a three-blink signal for lane changes.

Being stuck on the freeway behind someone with his/her blinker on isn't just distracting and frustrating, it's also dangerous. Sure, that driver could've simply forgotten to turn off the signal light, but what if the guy really intends to switch lanes? Ford aims to rid the roads of such hazards by borrowing some tap-for-three technology from Europe: to change lanes in the Fiesta, drivers need only nudge the turn signal to the left or right, and the car will fire off three blinks, then shut off. For turns, drivers can push the control slightly further to generate a persistent signal.

Even better: the Fiesta is merely the first Ford vehicle to deploy the three-blink technology. It's also expected on the 2011 Ford Super Duty, and if all goes well, it should appear on other models down the line.

Curious types can skim Ford's equally curious press release below.

[Ford via Autoblog]

* * * * *

Three Blinks and It's Off; New Ford Lane Change Technology Helps Ease Driver Pet Peeves

DEARBORN -- Does the sight of a blinker flashing on the car in front of you for miles and miles drive you crazy? You’re not the only one.

This annoying habit is so frustrating to drivers that it made the “Top 10 Driving Pet Peeves” list by a leading vehicle insurance company, which surveyed thousands of drivers nationwide. Nicknamed Morse Coders in the survey, these drivers often cruise for miles without realizing their blinker is on. Meanwhile, they are annoying everyone behind them.

With tongue in cheek, Hagerty Insurance Agency, which conducted the survey, suggested that Morse Coders are leaving their blinkers on for a reason: “Now let’s be fair. Perhaps these Morse Coders are part of the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) project, their turn signals beaming out across the galaxies in search of other life forms – or not.”

On a more serious note, national research by RDA Group of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., found that consumers are confused by turn signals that are left on.

“Most drivers have found themselves behind cars that have their signals on after changing lanes,” said Jim Thomas, senior vice president of RDA Group. “This can be confusing because there is no way of knowing if the signal is a real indication of an upcoming turn or not. To reduce this confusion, drivers want vehicles to automatically disengage the turn signal after making a lane change.”

New Ford technology, coming this summer on the 2011 Ford Fiesta, does exactly that.

Ford’s three-blink lane change technology is simplifying the way drivers maneuver on the road. With a simple flick of the switch – either up or down, depending on which lane the driver is moving into – the turn indicator will blink three times and automatically shut off. The switch can be held in the lane change position longer for additional blinks beyond the three minimum.

To engage the turn signal, drivers move the switch into the standard position, one more press past the lane change mode.

“This allows the driver to let go of the switch and concentrate on driving,” explains John Murphy, Core Switch Product Engineer. “Instead of holding down the switch, they can give a quick tap, show a three-blink warning that they are about to merge and change lanes. It’s that simple.”


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Comments (6)
  1. So what.....this has been available in VW since 2003 (Touareg), 2005 (Jetta) and 2006 (Rabbit). Old technology that never got any press for them...yet because Ford has it, it's big news? Why?!? Sure, the feature is really cool, but it's definitely not anything new at all.
     
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  2. When VW remembers to send a press release about it, we'll crow about them, too.
     
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  3. This low-cost "technology" should be standard\required equipment on every vehicle sold in the U.S., as should a telescopic-steering-column, height-adjustable seats, and many other safety-convenience features.
     
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  4. smart car has had it for nearly 2 years in the US.
    I will be getting the Fiesta and trading in my smart...good luck with that..
     
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  5. These three flash systems now common on cars is what we would call a good start. Smart Turn Signals are the answer to all of the defects of today's 70 year old mechanical turn signal. Smart Turn Signals use existing vehicle dynamics sensors to accurately and appropriately shut off turn signals under all conditions. No moving parts and it's a fully and truly intelligent automatic shut off system, even for lane changes. No more turn signals stuck-on while driving on the highway. No more prematurely tripped off turn signals while sitting at a traffic light with just a small wiggle of the steering wheel. This system even reminds a chronic turn signal neglecting driver after repeated absences of turn signal usage. The system is approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for OEM manufacturer usage. Its cost is near zero and would prevent literally millions of crashes per year if adopted by manufacturers. Let's see . . . Low cost, improved safety, great driver's feature, greatly reduced crash rates, reduced road rage. . . . . . What's not to love?
     
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  6. Three clicks is really too few. I tested this on my commute this morning and to safely change lanes you need at least 7 clicks. Three clicks don't even give enough time to cut someone off.
     
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