Robots, virtual and physical testing has helped Ford ensure the new Ranger and Everest both scored 5-star ANCAP safety ratings. The three robots are affectionately known as Ray, Rosie and Roberto.
At Ford’s Proving Ground in Australia, the trio are considered integral members of the car maker’s safety team, helping to develop the very latest in crash protection features and advanced driver assist systems.
Deployed to work on the new Ranger and Everest, they’re placed in harm’s way every single day, can work 24/7 if required, and only take short breaks to recharge. They don’t even need a lunch break.
This cutting-edge robotic trio are tasked with helping Ford test driver assist systems, like enhanced pre-collision assist with enhanced automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping with road edge detection, evasive steer assist, and reverse brake assist.
Each robot plays a crucial part in driver assist technology testing; Rosie is a guided soft target vehicle, Ray is a vulnerable road user, and Roberto is an in-car driving robot, with all of them playing a role in the more than 150 tests Ford engineers conducted.
For example, when fitted with a full-sized soft target, Rosie carries the same radar signature as a real car. This allows the ADAS to perform a variety of real-world tests to ensure systems work correctly.
Ford’s in-car driving robot Roberto, equipped with sophisticated motion control technologies, is fitted to the test vehicle to control the steering, brakes, and accelerator (an engineer remains in the driver’s seat, just in case).
Similarly, Ray allows the team to test for a variety of pedestrian, children and cyclist scenarios at both day and night. Used alongside virtual testing and physical crash testing the Ranger and Everest are among the safest vehicle’s Ford has ever built.
As a result, both the Ranger and Everest achieved strong scores in adult occupant protection for frontal offset, side impact and far-side impact tests. Both vehicles were awarded maximum scores for the level of child occupant protection in both scenarios.
The five-star ANCAP safety rating applies to all Ranger and Everest variants, excluding the Ranger Raptor. To fulfil requirements, vehicles manufactured before 20 August 2022 will require a minor lane-keep software configuration update (to be completed at service).