Roughly 37,000 Ford F-150 trucks are being recalled due to a risk that the automatic braking system may engage under certain circumstances when the vehicle’s adaptive cruise control is on, potentially causing the vehicle to brake unexpectedly and increase the risk of an auto accident.
The Ford F-150 recall (PDF) was announced by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on October 9, following a report of at least one crash that while the truck’s Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) was turned on, and the vehicle’s automatic braking system engaged after misreading a potential obstacle.
The recalled Ford trucks are equipped with an Adaptive Cruise Control system that allows the vehicle to be set at a particular speed to travel. The software is also designed to automatically apply the vehicles brakes when it recognizes a potential obstacle. However, the Adaptive Cruise Control systems sensors may misidentify reflections from other vehicles as potential obstacles and cause an unexpected brake engagement.
Ford indicates that it believes the accident report was caused by a misrepresented obstacle. The incident involved a Ford F-150 driver passing a large, highly reflective truck when the Adaptive Cruise Control was active. Fords analysis of the incident suggests that the radar collected a glare from the large reflective truck and identified it as a potential obstacle even though the other vehicle was not in the lane of the Ford driver.
Further, Ford is enacting the recall due to the potential time frame that the systems may apply the brakes for. The sensors are designed to apply the brakes until the perceived obstacle is no longer in sight. This could cause unexpected and longer applications of the brakes increasing the risk of a rear-end collisions, Ford said in their safety notice.
The Ford F-150 automatic emergency braking recall includes 36,857 pickup trucks from the 2015 model year, which were manufactured at the Dearborn Truck Plant from March 18, 2014 through August 5, 2015 and at the Kansas City Assembly Plant from August 11, 2014, through August 6, 2015. Only the models equipped with the Adaptive Cruise Control systems are included in the recall.
The NHTSA announced in their recall notice that an estimated 33,481 impacted trucks were sold throughout the United States and another 3,376 were distributed for sale in Canada.
Ford announced in a press release (PDF) that the company is notifying owners and dealers of the issue by mailed notice and anticipating for the recall repairs to begin as early as October 19, 2015. Owners will be asked to schedule a repair appointment at their local dealer where the dealer will reprogram the cruise control module with an updated ACC radar software free of charge. Customers with questions may contact Ford Customer Service at 1-866-436-7332 and reference the recall number 15S29.