Ford unveils automated tailgate - innovation is often in the little things
The little things are most often the innovations that impact our lives in a big way. Although the massive public works projects involved in delivering electricity to our homes are a common point of focus, it's the little things that electricity makes possible, like light bulbs and food processors, that have really changed our lives. So it goes with automotive as well. Sure, the implementation of airbags and crumple zones is a big deal to safety, but nothing beats intelligently-placed mirrors and common sense - the little things we use everyday - when it comes to safe driving. Right?
Ford's new automatic tailgate is one of those little things that can become the greatest of convenience that we eventually learn to take for granted. Just as automatic door locks and keyfobs are ubiquitous and even expected on today's cars, so will the automatic tailgate be in a few years. Dominik Nical, Ford of Europe's security electronics expert, explained it well:
“This is a perfect example of how we’re evolving existing technology to further improve our customers’ experience with Ford vehicles. 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.”
Debuting on the European-only crossover Ford Kuga, the hands-free tailgate opener will likely hit other Ford models over the next two or three years. Its idea is simple and it operates in a safe, useful way.
The door locks on the car are activated by the presence of the keyfob, which lets the vehicle know that its owner is within proximity. At this point, a motion sensor underneath the rear bumper allows the driver to swipe her foot underneath in a "kick" motion to automatically open the tailgate for access to the cargo area. As the Ford demonstration photo shows, if you're at the shopping center with your hands full, a simple swipe of your foot underneath the bumper will open the liftgate and allow you to put your parcels in without having to set them down and fumble for keys or a latch.
Now imagine that in the rain, snow, high winds.. The practical application is obvious and extremely convenient. Hence this will become popular.
It's the little things, folks.