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Ford Shows Hands-Free Tailgate On New Kuga Concept

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On: Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 1:45PM | By: Chris Weiss

Ford Shows Hands-Free Tailgate On New Kuga Concept

So often it seems that automakers use technology to create complicated, ambiguous features like advanced infotainment systems with social networking and touchscreen-based controls. Those features are valuable to some, annoying to others, and downright unnecessary many. Either way, it seems like there are more universally beneficial features that automakers could be using their technological know-how to build. Ford conquers one common problem using technology.

Most drivers have been in this situation at least once: You stroll up to the car with a bag full of groceries, box full of liquor, big awkward piece of furniture, etc. You don't have a free muscle to reach for your keys, and you can't open the car. The ground is wet, dirty or muddy and you'd rather not set your goods down on it. After a few minutes, you manage to balance your package delicately on the hood while manually opening the trunk. Problem solved (so long as your package doesn't slide off the hood and smash to bits).

Ford's new kick-activated tailgate system eliminates that hassle. Ford Kuga owners can lightly kick below the rear bumper to open the tailgate. They don't need their hands and can pop the trunk and slide their bags in without the usual effort.

Such a system left us wondering about security. Either you'd have to take your keys out to unlock the car, eliminating the advantage of a hands-free system, or anyone could just kick your trunk open.

As it turns out, Ford engineers are way ahead of us. The system is able to recognize your remote-entry device on your person, so you don't need to take it out to unlock the car. In that way, you can open the trunk without your key, but someone without the key cannot. With two sensors, the system is designed to recognize the kicking motion of the foot and shin and will not open for bumps in the road, animals, or other "false alarms."

It's not exactly a revolutionary feature, but it is a simple upgrade that makes the car a little more convenient to anyone and everyone. That's the right application of technology, in our opinion.

The feature is actually already available in North America on the Escape and was tweaked for the European version of that SUV - the Kuga. Ford introduced the new Kuga with kick-activated tailgate at this week's Geneva Motor Show.


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