Ford revs up technology in new F-150 pickup

Michael Martinez
The Detroit News
  • Ford Motor Co. will feature a number of class-exclusive technologies in its new F-150
  • A 360-degree camera will show the ground up to seven feet away.
  • Parking-assist sensors will help drivers parallel park.
  • The 2015 F-150 has more than 100 patents — the most of any Ford truck ever.

Ford Motor Co.’s new aluminum-body 2015 F-150 truck will feature technology never before seen in pickups, including a 360-degree camera and sensors that help with parallel parking.

The Dearborn automaker said it wants the pickup, which goes on sale later this year, to be easier to operate in tight spaces and congested cities.

“Trucks are big,” said Jennifer Shaw, Ford’s driver assistance electronics supervisor. “Trying to maneuver one in a tight spot in a parking lot or in the street is always a really tricky thing. We spent a lot of time making that easier for drivers.”

The F-150 will have five class-exclusive features that aren’t available in any pickups on the road today, Ford said. None of the features come standard.

The most prominent will be four cameras on the outside of the F-150 that provide a 360-degree view of the ground, up to seven feet in all directions. The entire view will be displayed on the truck’s center console, and it’s meant to help drivers park.

The front camera will include a washer that cleans the camera lens and activates when the windshield wipers are turned on.

Ford is also bringing its active park-assist technology to the F-150. Sensors will measure the gap between cars and determine if there’s enough room. If there is, the truck will automatically steer into the space as the driver controls the brakes and acceleration.

Also new to the F-150 is Ford’s blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert system, which is available on some of the automaker’s other vehicles. An LED light on the side-view mirrors will light up if a car is in the blind spot. If the turn signal is actuated, that light will start to blink.

The same sensors used for blind-spot detection can also alert a driver — by using warning lights and a chime — if a car is coming down a parking lot aisle as the truck is backing out.

Massaging seats and a trailer tow module that shows the driver which lights on a connected trailer aren’t working are also class-exclusive features that will debut in the F-150, Ford said.

Curve control — automatic braking if a curve is taken too quickly — and a feature that shows the power being distributed between the front and rear wheels are also options.

It will also have a lane-keeping system, tire-pressure monitoring, hill start-assist and hill-descent features found in other Ford vehicles.

Ford has been slowly revealing the new truck’s features as it nears launch. Gas mileage has not been announced.

The new truck weighs about 700 pounds less than the previous model. Pricing will increase $395-$3,615 over the 2014 truck, depending on model.