HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
REGISTER   |   LOGIN   |   HELP
DNTV

Ford Hands-Free Liftgate

The 2013 Ford Escape features a hands-free liftgate that can be opened by placing a foot under the back end of the vehicle. The technology uses capacitive sensors to recognize the presence of the driver’s foot and shin.
NO RATINGS
3/21/2012 | 7 comments
View Comments: Newest First|Oldest First|Threaded View
Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Waste of Technology
Charles Murray   4/10/2012 8:20:29 PM
NO RATINGS
You might be right, Tool_maker. It might be a solution search of a problem and it might be a complete dud. But there are so many seemingly-unnecessary automotive features that have taken off that it's hard to completely rule out any feature. When power windows came out, many people laughed, saying they were perfectly capable of rolling the windows up and down without help. Same for power doorlocks and remote keyless entry ("you mean I need help putting my key in the door??"). Admittedly, I'm a terrible judge of these things (I never got power windows or remote keyless entry until they were thrust upon me), but ithis seems as viable as a lot of other silly features to me.  

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Waste of Technology
Rob Spiegel   4/2/2012 2:12:02 PM
NO RATINGS
I guess you're probably right, Tool Maker. This probably came from one of those sessions where everyone is sitting around trying to come up with new features and someone says, "Hay, I got an idea. . ." There is one solution disucssed in an earlier article -- cameras at the back of the vehicle that can see if there is a kid behine a car:

http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1366&doc_id=239972

Tool_maker
User Rank
Platinum
Waste of Technology
Tool_maker   4/2/2012 12:53:59 PM
NO RATINGS
If there was ever a solution in search of a problem, this is it. I have driven SUVs with tail gates since 1977 and can never remember this being a problem. However I can visualize hanging my head and upper torso in to get something and inadvertently actuating the mechanism.

 There is also a scenario where you park, walk away to the front with your back to the vehicle and someone familiar with the feature activates the device while you and your key are still in triggering distance. Also notice that the shopping bags used in the demo have handles. Two bags in one hand would solve the issue. Not to mention someone balancing on one foot in the snow and ice in which our driver does not want to set his bags, while kicking a foot under the vehicle. Anyone want to place bets on how long before Ford is sued for Grandma's broken hip?

  I think technology is really cool, but this appears to be just plain silly.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Human Factors
Charles Murray   3/29/2012 9:55:20 PM
NO RATINGS
I don't think it can distinguish between a big and little leg, Greg. But the door won't open unless you've got the key fob in your pocket or close by. I suppose if Little Johnny is standing next to his Mom (who has the key), though, he could open the door.

Greg M. Jung
User Rank
Platinum
Human Factors
Greg M. Jung   3/27/2012 10:08:48 PM
NO RATINGS
From a human factors standpoint, I wonder if the sensors will or will not work when a young person or even a small child kicks their foot under the bumper.  Can the sensor system distinguish size of leg and will there be any unintended effects if the system is inadvertently actuated (i.e. Johnny kicks his leg under the bumper and mom's head gets bumped by the liftgate closing down).

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Dirt?
Charles Murray   3/26/2012 8:13:17 PM
NO RATINGS
Jack: You raise a good question. I never asked about the effect of ice and snow, but I assume it's not as big an issue as it would be if this were optical. I'll see if we can contact Ford and get an answer to your question.

Jack Rupert, PE
User Rank
Platinum
Dirt?
Jack Rupert, PE   3/21/2012 9:01:05 PM
NO RATINGS
I wonder how that works after a few months of road grease...or a layer of ice or snow.

Also, I haven't seen the new Escape yet, but I hope they didn't get rid of the back back windwo that opens in addition to the whole tailgate.  That previous design is great for hanging something (like a 2x4) out and having an angle on it to keep it inside.

Partner Zone
DNTV
Gadget Freak Case #253: Peltier ...
Eric Chesak created a sensor that can detect clouds, and it ...
Gadget Freak Case #252: Animated ...
Al Linke's animated weather display uses a Rasberry Pi to ...
Gadget Freak Case #251: Billiards Ball ...
William Grill needed a counter to play a game of call shot, ...
Nordson EFD Dispensing Solutions
See Nordson EFD’s fluid dispensing systems in action.
Gadget Freak Case #250: DIY Flexible ...
Marin Davide created a flexible thermochromic display that ...
Fueled by Innovation
Proto Labs has become the world’s fastest provider of real ...
Gadget Freak Case #249: The Heatilator ...
When Dick Neubert discovered that his fireplace's ...
Gadget Freak Case #248: Digital Walking ...
Marin Davide has developed a digital stick for the blind ...
FemtoFET™: Smallest MOSFET
TI's Rich Nowakowski discusses the industry’s smallest, ...
Gadget Freak Case #247: Back to the ...
Our teenage gadget master John Duffy has created a manual ...
LDC1000: A Revolution in Sensing
David introduces the world's first inductance-to-digital ...
Critical Connections
For medical, aerospace, and other applications, ...
Design News Webinar Series
3/27/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York / 7:00 p.m. London
2/27/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York / 7:00 p.m. London
12/18/2013 Available On Demand
11/20/2013 Available On Demand
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Apr 21 - 25, Creating & Testing Your First RTOS Application Using MQX
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Next Class: April 29 - Day 1
Sponsored by maxon precision motors
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Datasheets.com Parts Search

185 million searchable parts
(please enter a part number or hit search to begin)
Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service