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Traction managment system

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Ford has just announced that the next-generation Explorer will benefit from all-wheel drive coupled to a Land Rover-like terrain management system. According to Ford, the company's researchers found that Explorer owners were somewhat befuddled by when to use which four-wheel drive mode, and has since simplified the process significantly. Instead of having to decide whether two-high, four-high or four-low is best for the current trail conditions, owners will simply have to select from an easy to use console mounted knob.

Drivers simply pick between normal, mud, sand or snow modes and allow the Explorer's all-wheel drive setup to do the rest. The vehicle's software then uses various vehicle sensors to help provide the most traction possible. Each mode is also usable with a new hill-decent assist feature borrowed from the company's full-sized pickups. Push the button and the Explorer will automatically try to itself down any slope, no matter the condition.

Ford is hoping that by leaving the traditional transfer case behind, it can save a few pounds and up the model's efficiency at the same time. Coupled to the truck's new unibody construction (yes, the Explorer is going all crossover on us), Ford is estimating that the V6 model will benefit from a 25 percent increase in fuel-efficiency compared to current models. Hit the jump to see a video of the new all-wheel drive system in action.

Crap, I was just coming here to post this! Haha

I think this is fantastic news, and it will certainly dispel some of those rumors that this will be purely useless off-road.

Things just got a whole heck of a lot more interesting! :)

It would be funny if this was the most capable (factory) Explorer yet. All you haters :)

It's interesting and I hope it makes the new Explorer great offroad, but I have a few problems.
First, it is obviously a direct copy of the offroad system being used by Land Rover. I know that LR started using the system while they were owned by Ford, but Ford should have changed the system at least a little bit. The dial and the environment pictures are practically a copy-paste from an LR3.
Also, the TMS may help the Explorer offroad, but I hope Ford makes the 2011 Explorer have air suspension, at least as an option. The pictures of the 2011 Explorer currently really bother me because of how low the vehicle looks, it doesn't even look like 2" spacers would be enough to help the new explorer, at least as of the latest pictures I've seen.

traction management

it works in the f-150 raptor, but the driver gets to play. doesn't look like it's going to do that in the explorer

Ford's upcoming 2011 Explorer SUV will feature the industry's first inflatable rear seat belt, but that's not the only new technology that will be debuted with the new model. Curve Control is a driver aid system that is designed to help a driver to maintain control of a vehicle when entering a curve--such as a freeway off-ramp--with too much speed. Wait. How, exactly, is that different from regular stability control?
Here's how the new system works: as the vehicle enters a turn, Curve Control measures the driver's steering input and the speed of that input. Concurrently, the Ford AdvanceTrac with RSC (Roll Stability Control) system's sensors are also measuring roll rate, yaw rate, lateral acceleration, and wheel speed and running calculations based on those inputs 100 times every second. Using this data, Curve Control can detect whether the driver has entered the turn at too high a speed, resulting in understeer. The system then applies braking pressure and reduces torque, slowing the vehicle by as much as 10mph within the first second, pulling the vehicle's trajectory back in line with the driver's intended path. Ford claims that the system works equally well in wet or dry conditions and that its implementation should help prevent some of the approximately 50,000 crashes on curves each year in the U.S. alone.
This is still all sounding like standard fare stability control to us, but Ford's press release says that the patent-pending system is different in that it measures how quickly the vehicle is turning and compares that to how quickly the driver is trying to turn and responds by applying "the precise amount of braking required on each wheel to enhance the individual wheel braking of the traditional stability control system."
It seems to us that Curve Control may just be a nice bullet point term that makes a progressive improvement to a stability control system seem like a wholly new and unique feature to Ford vehicles. More importantly, however, we're fans of making the highways and the vehicles that navigate them safer. As long as the system keeps drivers from plowing through guard rails, we don't care what it's called. The Curve Control feature will be standard on the 2011 Ford Explorer when it debuts later this year. Ford has designs to make the system available on 90 percent of its North American crossovers, sport utilities, trucks, and vans by 2015.