Ford introduces an industry-first hands-free liftgate that allows customers to quickly and easily unlock and open the rear hatch even when their hands are full
With the key fob in the owner’s possession, a gentle leg motion below the center of the rear bumper activates sensors that cue the system to unlock and raise the rear liftgate.
The hands-free liftgate will debut in the seven-passenger C-MAX crossover, being shown at the 2011 North American International Auto Show.
“In the new C-MAX, customers no longer need to set their packages down or fumble to locate their keys to open the rear hatch, especially when their hands are full,” said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. “The hands-free liftgate allows them to easily and quickly open the cargo area with one simple leg motion.”
The hands-free liftgate debuts on the Ford C-MAX, which is being shown at the 2011 North American International Auto Show. The C-MAX can seat up to seven and is a popular model in Europe because of its clever combination of style, versatility and fuel efficiency.
Enabled by Intelligent Access with push-button start
The hands-free liftgate is enabled by Intelligent Access with push-button start. This technology allows customers to unlock and start their vehicles without ever having to take out the key. When the key fob is in their possession – kept in a pocket, coat, purse or briefcase – a simple pull on the door handle unlocks the vehicle. Once inside the vehicle, the driver simply holds down the brake pedal and presses the power button to start the vehicle.
In conjunction with the Intelligent Access system, there are two sensors located in the rear bumper. One detects the shin and the other detects the leg motion to enable the hands-free liftgate. The customer simply needs to possess the Intelligent Access key fob and gently wave his or her foot under the bumper to operate the feature.
Additionally, the liftgate height can be programmed or adjusted manually to meet specific customer needs.
“We recognize that the C-MAX customer usually has his or her hands full. Whether carrying packages while holding a young child’s hand or carrying bags full of groceries, the hands-free liftgate will make their lives a whole lot easier,” said Wendy King, C-MAX brand manager.
The combination of the system detecting the key fob and leg motion is necessary to unlock and open the liftgate and safeguards against any accidental opening.
“Animals running under the car, hitting a bump on the road or similar unintended gestures won’t trigger the liftgate to open,” said Michael Becker, systems engineer. “This is one smart feature.”
As with other technology Ford has developed, the hands-free liftgate is a customer-focused solution, like SYNC® and EcoBoost™, which can be implemented in other vehicles around the globe.
“The arrival of the hands-free liftgate on the new C-MAX is just the beginning for this technology,” said Kuzak. “Customers soon will see this same technology roll out across our broader portfolio of vehicles.”