Ford walked away from this year’s Edison Best new Product Awards gala with three gold prizes for a few inventions that they’ve recently launched. The awards recognize today’s top innovators and are named after the iconic American inventor Thomas Edison who once said, “I find out what the worlds needs. Then I go ahead and try to invent it.” And the Edison Award judicial panel of more than 2,000 business executives and academics believe that Ford has done a top job of doing just that with their rear inflatable seat belt, MyFord Touch, and MyKey.
The rear inflatable seat belt, which won in the “Applied Technology” segment, is a bag located in the chest portion of the belt and deploys in the event of a side or frontal crash. According to Ford, the bag reduces injuries to passengers by spreading crash “forces over five times more area of the body than conventional seat belts.” The technology debuted in the 2011 Ford Explorer and should see its way into most of the global line up.
The second award winner, MyFord Touch, is the automaker’s attempt to simplify the operation of technology found in cars today. MyFord Touch attempts to mimic popular electronics such as MP3 players and cell phones by using touchscreens, circular five-way buttons, and touch-sensitive switchgear to operate audio, navigation, climate, and other functions. The technology, however, has raised concern among some Ford and Lincoln dealers who believe the increased learning curve to use the system may scare customers away.
Ford’s MyKey took the gold in the “Remote Driving Aids” segment. MyKey was designed to give parents peace of mind and to encourage safer driving habits among teens. Owners can program a key that will set limits to a number of vehicular functions and distractions such as top speed and audio volume. Other features include a selt belt reminder and the inability to deactivate traction control.
Ford’s recognitions didn’t stop there — the Edison program presented CEO Alan Mulally with the Edison Achievement Award for his “significant and lasting contributions to innovation throughout his career.”
Source: Ford, Edison Awards