Pothole mitigation technology in the 2021 F-150?! Forget self-driving. This sounds more like a true hallmark of 21st century technology. Seriously, Ford must know the kind of roads we’re up against around here.
But it doesn’t stop there. Ford’s latest F-150 announcements today also include payload and tongue weight detection which not only provide the approximate pounds of people and cargo are riding on your wheels but also provide approximate trailer tongue weight to help make for safer towing.
Ford’s class exclusive Onboard Scales and Smart Hitch features available for the 2021 F-150 this summer work together to help pave the way for continuously controlled damping “to help customers who tow and haul load their trucks up for the work they’re designed to do while also adding on-road confidence.”
Continuously controlled damping is designed to enhance ride and handling characteristics especially when towing or hauling heavy loads or encountering annoying potholes.
A computer within the F-150 analyzes multiple signals collected from high-resolution sensors – adjusting vehicle response to each situation by controlling valves in the shocks.
Ford reports that damping force is used to control unwanted motions such as bounce, pitch and roll reducing the severity the truck – and its passengers – will feel from traveling through the pothole. When the edge of a pothole is detected, the dampers firm up, preventing the tires from dropping as deep into the hole. Tuning can be adjusted by selecting any of the available drive modes.
In Tow/Haul mode, continuously controlled damping is specifically tuned “to provide a smooth and confident driving experience, easing truck and trailer responses to road conditions while providing connected, precise, and linear steering despite a heavy trailer or load, helping reduce stress on the driver while towing.”
Class-exclusive built-in payload estimation
Customers can now gauge how much they’re hauling. New available Onboard Scales measure and display the approximate weight of the payload in the truck. Load information is displayed in the center touch screen with a graphic representation of the truck, on a mobile phone through the FordPass app or in graphics within the truck’s smart taillamps.
Smart taillamps operate like the battery charge indicator on a mobile phone, displaying the percentage of payload capacity by illuminating LEDs arranged in a built-in vertical bar. As the truck is loaded, all four lights illuminate, showing it’s fully loaded. If the truck is overloaded, the top lights blink. The maximum payload based on the pickup’s configuration is programmed into the system. Additionally, the truck can be set on scale mode, which zeroes out the current load and allows for approximate weighing of additional items loaded into the bed.
Class-exclusive Smart Hitch is designed to help customers easily load trailers and better practice safe towing. Smart Hitch measures the tongue weight of a connected trailer to help gauge weight distribution during loading.
After the trailer is set up in the center touch screen, Smart Hitch calculates its tongue weight and provides guidance on weight distribution or hitch overloading on the screen, on the FordPass app or within the smart taillamps. The truck also will indicate if the hitch weight is too high or low and can even guide owners through properly tensioning a weight redistributing hitch.