The new Ford Kuga is equipped with a clever Disconnect feature that uses artificial intelligence to switch off the crossover’s all-wheel drive system in favorable driving conditions, thus boosting fuel efficiency.
If your Kuga or Kuga Hybrid is in need of extra grip, the system will re-engage faster than the blink of an eye. According to Ford, AWD disconnect could deliver a fuel saving of roughly 6.5 per cent simply by switching to FWD when appropriate.
“All-wheel drive isn’t just for heading off-road – the extra traction can make journeys smoother, safer and less stressful for drivers, particularly in wintry conditions,” said Kuga chief program engineer Glen Goold. “We designed our new Kuga Hybrid to help drivers save on fuel costs, and the artificial intelligence of AWD disconnect means they can do exactly that while still getting all the benefits of Intelligent All-Wheel Drive.”
The Kuga’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system uses information from sensors to continually monitor which wheels have the best traction. Power is then distributed between the front and rear wheels, with adjustments taking less than 20 milliseconds. If the front wheels are left without any traction, the system can even send 100% of power to the rear wheels.
All these decisions are made using a dedicated electronic brain and a fuzzy logic algorithm, which is able to determine whether power to the rear wheels can be disconnected completely.
“Fuzzy logic refers to the algorithm, which can take into account all sorts of variables before making a decision, just as you or I might do when deciding what to wear based on the weather forecast, the time of year, looking outside and where we’re going,”said Scott Beiring, Ford’s driveline applications supervisor.
“For Kuga, that means Intelligent All-Wheel Drive won’t engage just because the windscreen wipers are on. The algorithm takes into account information from a number of sensors before deciding whether or not to engage, but does so much faster than any human could.”