Ford‘s new Curve Control system is arguably a bigger competitive advantage for the 2012 Explorer than the crossover’s new sheet metal, but for some reason, the Blue Oval was happy to demonstrate their new technology while covering the exterior of the car in black material.
Essentially, Curve Control is an extra layer of protection on top of the vehicle’s stability control system. While there’s no new hardware involved with the system, new algorithms were developed to help detect if a driver was trying to negotiate a large radius turn (such as an on-ramp) at too high speeds. Curve Control can apply the brakes with 5 times more power and speed than standard stability control systems, giving it the ability to slow the car by 10mph in less than a second. With a big, heavy SUV and a winding on ramp, that could be the difference between life and death. Ford estimates that 50,000 accidents occur per year due to driving too fast through a curve, and the Curve Control system could become a pioneering bit of safety equipment if it actually meets Ford’s claims.
On the other hand, systems like this (and the upcoming Continental Steer Assist)the onus should be on the driver to drive at a responsible speed through a turn, especially in a big, unresponsive SUV, and most importantly, on public roads.