Geeks gone wild
When you think of software and geeks you think of companies like Apple and Microsoft. If Todd Brown and Dan Eisele have their way, you’re going to widen your swath of software geeks to include them.
Brown was the managing engineer for Ford’s Brake Stability Control (BSC), helping to create and integrate Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Rollover Stability (RSC) and BSC.
A couple of years ago Brown was testing a Ford SUVs new ESC and RSC system in North Michigan. He was by himself, away from home, and stopped to have dinner. With no one else to talk to over dinner Brown had time to think and create.
ESC will help mitigate crashes when someone is going into a curve too quickly by using the inner wheel. Rollover Stability Control will help an SUV or CUV with the center of gravity crashes, but how could Brown help prevent any of the 50,000 curve-related crashes that happen every year?
On the back of a menu, Brown started playing with physics equations to try to make Ford’s program even better, to leverage the technology. He brought the menu home with him and took it to the guys at work. Together they wrote equations, did a deep dive into the possibility of the technology, and created supporting data models.
They called the program Curve Control (CC). A software program that uses all the other programs on the vehicle to sense when a driver is losing control in a curve and will reduce the vehicle ten miles per hour per second.
Brown was given a promotion to Chassis Integration manager and Dan Eisele stepped in as Engineer for Curve-Control.
Eisele is a 35-year old geek. Looking at him, you envision him spending way too many hours behind a computer running his hand through his hair to figure out another algorithm.
The program took Eisele and his group eighteen months to develop. Unlike the geeks at Microsoft or Apple who write a piece of software and upload it on their computer, Eisele had to upload the software to a car and then drive the car around the test track in Dearborn, MI to see if the software worked.
Eisele said there was only one “big oops. The software cut in too far and too hard.” Fun for a drifter or a race car driver, not so much for a software geek.
Curve-control will be standard and it will be the default mode. If you are off-roading you can switch to other modes.
Ford will expand curve-control to ninety-percent of its SUV, CUV, and truck line-up by 2015.
Brown is looking for the menu and Eisele is practicing his racing techniques.