GENEVA, Switzerland – Ford will offer an innovative hands-free tailgate for the all-new Kuga, offering customers a first-in-class, kick-activated means of accessing the boot.
The hands-free system enables Kuga customers to gently kick a foot beneath the rear bumper to open and close the tailgate without having to put down packages or gear. The new Kuga was revealed earlier this week at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.
“This is a perfect example of how we’re evolving existing technology to further improve our customers’ experience with Ford vehicles,” said Dominik Nical, security electronics expert, Ford of Europe. “The result is a practical and unique solution to a common problem – opening the tailgate when your arms are full. It’s a solution that will really work for customers in their everyday lives.”
The development team spent six months working with Ford’s Human Machine Interface laboratory, using volunteers to test prototype systems fitted to a previous generation Kuga. Rigorous real-life testing perfected the required kick and ensured there was no interference with other systems.
Two sensors in the rear bumper detect a person’s shin and kicking motion. The system safeguards against accidental opening by being programmed to open with leg motions – not when an animal runs under the car or when the vehicle hits a bump on the road.
The system made its debut on Kuga’s sister model, the Ford Escape, in North America, late last year. Ford engineers re-calibrated the system for Europe to ensure it would still work if a tow bar had been fitted - as this is an option frequently chosen by European Kuga customers.
Geneva 2012 Press Conference: