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Ford fitting electric power steering to 90% of models


Ford fitting electric power steering to 90% of models

Ford fitting electric power steering to 90% of models

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Ford has made a commitment to fit 80 to 90% of its future vehicles with electric power steering (EPS) systems by 2012. Currently the 2008 Ford Escape, Mercury Mariner, and their respective hybrid models are fitted with EPS, and next in line to receive the fuel-saving device are the Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan and Lincoln MKZ line of cars.

The EPS system helps correct for road irregularities and improves overall handling and steering feel as well as improving fuel economy. Unlike common hydraulic-powered systems that continuously draw power from the engine, EPS is only activated when it is needed. Ford is also developing a new safety feature that allows EPS to communicate with a vehicle's brake system to help operate advanced stability control and accident avoidance systems.

The system also opens up doors for other capabilities such as an auto-parking system. EPS systems can also be calibrated, potentially offering customers the opportunity to personalize their drive with selectable steering efforts - in other words choosing between how heavy or light the steering is.

Similar to electronic braking, EPS has not entered the market previously due to high costs and a consumer fear of leaving their lives in the hands of a malfunctionable electronic system, but with rising concern over fuel costs and improving fail-safes and safety systems, consumers may just ignore those fears and be swayed by EPS.
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Comment (1)
  1. "failing electronics"... this fear is completely unsubstantiated when it comes to electric steering. It must be stated that this is not "fly-by-wire" steering. there is still a physical connection; just like in any other "power" steering unit. it's just that the power assist comes from an electric motor instead of a juice-box (hydraulic assist).

    also, the eurospec focus/mazda3/volvos have this too. The way it operates is that the steering column is actually a coil in one section. as force is applied to it, it's electrical resistance changes. a sensor monitors this and corrects the difference in forces by applying opposite force with an electric motor. basically, when you turn the wheel slightly, the wheels give you resistance, changing the shape of the coil slightly. the shaft senses that, and an electric motor turns the shaft, so that the coil comes back to a resting position.

    I know the 2 men who designed this system for GM. I've taken courses with both of them. One is a mechanical engineer and the other is electrical. The electrical engineer taught my Electronics II course and I can assure you that the electronics are fail safe and have only one input: the difference of angles on the steering wheel.

    Admittedly, once you put electronics there, then yes, it makes it much easier to have a computer control the steering, but not by much. If the MythBusters can make a 78 eldorado drive by remote,........
     
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