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All New FG Falcon-The Latest In Integrating Vehicle Systems

February 17th, 2008



 

The all-new FG Falcon will be equipped with a world-class, technologically advanced Human Machine Interface (HMI), which brings vehicle interaction, system control and integration to a new level.

The FG Falcon's HMI incorporates the Interior Command Centre (ICC), Multi-function Display (MFD), instrument cluster and steering wheel controls, as well as integrating a host of new customer-oriented features where fitted, including a reverse camera, a Bluetooth® mobile phone integration module and full iPod integration with the audio system.

"The HMI allows the user to control key aspects of the vehicle, from climate control and audio settings to cruise control and lighting settings, through a user-friendly and intuitive interface," Ford Australia Electrical Engineering Manager, Stuart Taylor said.

"Navigating through the system is possible from three different points, depending on the function being accessed, with the ICC, instrument cluster and steering wheel buttons all providing various levels of sub-system control."

The appearance, form and function of the new ICC complements the overall interior design of the FG Falcon, delivering a clean, stylish and prestigious interior environment for the driver and vehicle occupants.

Interior Command Centre

The Interior Command Centre encompasses a wide range of vehicle functions, including audio system controls and climate control, as well as providing the interface for features such as the Bluetooth mobile phone module, reverse sensing system, reverse camera and satellite navigation, where fitted.

It also provides the access point for vehicle personalisation information, such as locking, alarm/security settings and interior illumination.

"The Interior Command Centre serves as the primary source of information for vehicle comfort and convenience systems for the user," Taylor said.

"On FG Falcon, the ICC screen has been raised high within the interior environment to a level similar to the instrument cluster, which provides the driver with the ability to view the ICC screen without having to divert their eyes downward from the road level view.

"Repositioning the new ICC screen has also enabled the air vents to be in the optimum position for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) performance."

There are two levels of ICC, a low series version with an LED backlit monochromatic LCD screen on XT, G6, XR6, XR6 Turbo and XR8 models and a high series version with a seven-inch colour TFT screen on G6E and G6E Turbo models, which utilises colours and layers to enable simple navigation of menus and functions.

LCD for low series:

  • High power white LED backlit
  • Monochromatic
  • LCD comprises of a fixed segment and dot matrix area
  • Employs the same menu layout as the high series
  • Employs symbols, graphics and dynamic text to display information
  • Reconfigurable screen settings

TFT for high series:

  • Seven-inch colour TFT screen – supports high resolution graphics
  • Video input for reverse camera and satellite navigation, where fitted
  • All-new, high resolution graphics and an all-new menu layout
  • Reconfigurable screen settings

The high series ICC is also available as an option on select models, either in conjunction with the premium audio system or as part of the XR Luxury Pack.

ICC operation is via four key controls – the "ICC Control Dial", "OK" button (located within the ICC Control Dial), "Menu" button and "Back" button – which provide a clear, concise and easy to use operating system for Falcon customers.

"ICC navigation is safe, simple and intuitive, with a logical structure that will inspire confidence amongst users," Taylor said.

"As users become more familiar with the system, it will encourage them to venture deeper into the menu structures and functionality, and enable the personalisation of certain functions that can be stored as preferences," Taylor said.

The main principles of ICC navigation are:

  1. Press "Menu"
  2. Turn the "ICC Control Dial" clockwise or anti-clockwise to navigate up or down (similar to the scroll functionality of the renowned iPod Click Wheel)
  3. Press "OK" to select the desired option or sub-menu
  4. Press "Back" to go back one menu level
  5. Press and hold "Back" to return to the standard home ICC screen
  6. Press and hold "OK" to turn the ICC screen off

The three menu levels in the ICC are Audio, Settings and Phone, which on the high series ICC are represented by different colour themes to aid easy recognition – specific 'highlighting' is used to show the selected sub-menu and menu 'tabs' indicate how far into the menu system a user has delved.

Interaction between the ICC and the instrument cluster allows the MFD to support ICC functionality, by offering a secondary display of audio information and other functions, directly in front of the driver.

New ICC features on FG Falcon include:

  • MP3 CD navigation
    • When an MP3 CD is playing, the user is able to navigate the contents of the CD via the ICC screen, which displays a list of folders, or tracks within a folder, to enable direct selection of a desired song
  • MP3 ID3 information
    • Three lines of ID3 information are displayed on the ICC screen (song title, album and artist)
  • Radio Data System (RDS)
    • Allows radio text, emergency broadcast and traffic announcement information, where broadcast by the radio station, to be displayed on the ICC screen

(not all radio stations broadcast RDS information)

  • Scrolling text
    • When MP3 ID3 information or RDS radio text is too long to be displayed on the screen, the text can be scrolled by pressing the OK button
  • Follow me home lighting
    • When the driver turns the ignition key to the off position, the headlights will turn off after a time delay, which can be adjusted from 0-4 minutes
  • Adjustable auto headlights on/off
    • Based on information gathered from the sun load sensor, the headlights will turn ON in low light or OFF when enough ambient light is present. The range is earlier – later, with eight adjustment increments in between.
  • Child night light – interior light dimming
    • When the dome lamp is on and the dome lamp button is held down, the intensity of the dome lamp decreases to minimum – continuing to hold the button will ramp the light intensity back to full brightness. The chosen setting is remembered and does not need to be reconfigured each time the vehicle is started.

  • Audio off with driver door open
    • If the user leaves the vehicle and forgets to turn off the audio system, it will automatically turn off when the driver door is opened (a particularly useful feature to support one hour keyless play)

New features specific to the high series ICC include:

  • Sonar display
    • Where the reverse sensing system is fitted to a vehicle – when reversing, the sonar graphic appears in the ICC screen with colour prioritised distance indicator bars, to provide visual feedback in addition to the audible sonar beeps.
  • Camera display
    • Where the reverse camera is fitted to a vehicle – when the vehicle is in reverse gear, the colour ICC screen displays the camera view to eliminate the reversing blind spot immediately behind the vehicle
  • Animated start-up graphics
    • Once selected within the ICC Settings Menu , upon start-up, an animated Ford logo appears followed by an animated walking man who then takes a seat
  • Date display
    • High series MFD shows the date below the clock display

 

Audio System

The FG Falcon is available with two levels of audio systems, which form an integral part of the Interior Command Centre – a standard audio system that is fitted as on XT, G6, XR6, XR6 Turbo and XR8 models, and a premium audio system on G6E and G6E Turbo models.

The standard single CD/MP3 player audio system delivers through a new four-speaker set-up, with the rear speakers positioned on the rear doors rather than on the parcel shelf behind the rear seat passengers, allowing rear passengers to engage in conversation more easily.

Both front and rear speaker sets are angled to optimise the listening experience for all passengers.
New features on the latest generation audio systems include:

  • More powerful, 112-watt power output
  • MP3 CD compatibility
    • MP3 CDs can store more information than traditional CDs, so the user is able to play more tracks from a single CD
    • MP3 CDs can be categorised using folders – the new ICC supports folder navigation within an MP3 CD
  • Radio Data System (RDS)
    • Allows radio text, emergency broadcast and traffic announcement information, where broadcast by the radio station, to be displayed on the ICC screen

(not all radio stations broadcast RDS information)

  • Auxiliary audio input
    • The Aux1 input (3.5mm) is located in the centre console – for connecting portable audio devices and MP3 players to the audio system, the auxiliary input is easily accessible and is standard in all models
  • CD precautionary warnings
    • When loading CDs, the user is reminded not to insert any CDs with adhesive labels
    • When loading CDs, the user is reminded to only insert one disc at a time
  • CD compression and power limiting
    • Standard on all audio systems
  • Media volume
    • Within the ICC Audio Menu, the user can adjust the volume level of sonar, navigation and Aux1 to their liking
  • Adjustable speed dependent volume setting
    • Volume can be set to automatically adjust according to vehicle speed to compensate for peripheral noise – eight levels of adjustment are available
  • Mid range
    • Within the ICC Audio Menu, the user can now adjust mid range in addition to bass and treble
  • Improved antenna systems
    • Improved on-glass antenna on Falcon sedan
    • New, adjustable angle, pole antenna on Falcon Ute

The premium, six-disc in-dash CD/MP3 player audio system delivers its sound through eight speakers and features a 150-watt amplifier and 150-watt subwoofer. Unique, premium audio system features for the sedan range include:

  • More powerful with a total power output of 262-watt
  • Six-disc in-dash CD/MP3 player
  • 150-watt amplifier / 150-watt subwoofer
  • Seven-inch TFT colour ICC screen
  • Graphic equaliser

iPod Integration

In addition to the new audio systems developed for FG Falcon, a new iPod Integration feature enables Falcon customers to fully integrate an iPod to the vehicle. Standard on G6E Turbo and optional on G6E, iPod Integration is also available on the rest of the Falcon range as part of a Technology Pack that includes the Bluetooth mobile phone integration module.

iPod Integration is a fully integrated interface between the customer's iPod unit and the audio system, allowing the iPod to be controlled via the existing controls on the ICC and steering wheel.

"Full iPod integration means the user has access to not just songs, but other features such as playlists, albums, audiobooks and podcasts, in a similar layout to the iPod unit itself," Taylor said.

Conveniently and securely packaged in a custom pouch located in the centre console storage bin, the iPod unit is also charged by the vehicle interface once connected, whether it is in operation or turned off, which ensures it is available on demand.

iPod Integration supports a range of iPod models, providing they are equipped with a 30 pin connection.

Bluetooth® mobile phone module

A fully integrated Bluetooth mobile phone module will be standard equipment on G6E and G6E Turbo models, as well as being offered as an option on the rest of the FG Falcon range as part of a Technology Pack, which also includes iPod Integration.

The module allows eight mobile phones to be paired with the system for the purpose of 'hands-free' in-vehicle communication – with an inbuilt microphone in the overhead console, the user does not need to touch the handset to interact with the phone.

A multi-function phone button on the steering wheel allows the user to make outgoing calls and accept or reject incoming calls. It also acts as a mute button to allow the user to mute the microphone during a call. A short press of the phone button, when not in a call, provides a shortcut to the most recently dialled number.

The voice tags feature allows users to dial any number in their phone book – providing voice tags have been set-up on the phone – without needing to pick up their mobile phone, while a "Change Connected Phone" function in the phone menu allows the user to easily change between paired phones.

Users are notified of an incoming call via their ring tone through the audio system speakers, as well as via a message prompt on the MFD.

Reverse Sensing System

A new reverse sensing system has been engineered for FG Falcon, which is standard equipment on all G Series models and optional on the rest of the sedan range.

The reverse sensing system detection functionality has been expanded to include more accurate object location, with the distance information now communicated to the driver via the ICC screen on high series models, in addition to the audio system speakers.

"The primary purpose of the visual reverse sensing information is to provide an additional interpretation of an obstacles location behind the vehicle, to complement the audible warnings," Taylor said.

The new reverse sensing system offers four lateral region coloured display information – on the high series ICC – which is equivalent to the systems offered by premium European manufacturers.

Monitoring of the vehicle's surroundings is performed by four ultrasonic sensors integrated into the rear bumper, which transmit short sound pulses and register the sound echo. Based on the principle of echo-location, the electronic control unit (ECU) uses the echo to determine the distance to the obstacle.

The ECU reports this acoustically by emitting an audible impulse tone through the audio system speakers – the rate of the impulse tone is proportional to the distance the obstacle is from the vehicle. If the obstacle passes the predetermined threshold of approximately 450 mm, the ECU will emit a continuous tone.

When reverse gear is selected, the high series ICC screen displays a profile image of the vehicle and shows the location of obstacles being detected in the field of view – approximately 1800 mm to the rear of the vehicle and 200 mm beyond the width of the vehicle body.

The system is automatically deactivated when a Ford approved tow bar package is in use, with a trailer plug connected.

Reverse Camera

A new Reverse Camera has been introduced on FG Falcon sedan to improve visibility of the area behind the vehicle and eliminate blind spots, for safer vehicle operation.

Fitted as standard equipment on G6E and G6E Turbo models, the reverse camera system is also available as an option across the XR sedan range.
The reverse camera image display is integrated into the high series ICC screen and shows the ground behind the rear of the vehicle when reverse gear is selected, to a distance of approximately 10 metres.

The camera is mounted in the boot lid appliqué above the licence plate and utilises a fisheye lens to provide a very wide field of view – approximately 130 degrees – which enables obstacles that are beyond the width of the vehicle to be seen.

In addition to its primary purpose, the reverse camera feature can also be used as an aid when reversing to hook up a trailer, as it can provide assistance in aligning the tow ball with the trailer.

Satellite Navigation System

The FG Falcon is available with a new SD card-based navigation system in lieu of the DVD based system used in prior models.

The new system is smaller, lighter, faster, and easier to use, with improved map software and new functionality that includes:

  • All-new display and menu
  • New "shut-down-delay" mode – the system does not need to recalculate guidance after a short stop/key off scenario (e.g. refuelling at petrol station)
  • The ability to display critical journey information in the home screen – such as arrival time and distance to destination
  • New V14 Sensis map data
  • New 2D/2.5D perspective view map mode, for easy recognition and understanding
  • Infrared remote control

Instrument Cluster

There are three functional levels of cluster in the FG Falcon – low series, high series and FPV – of which there are a total of seven unique variants across the vehicle range.
Differentiation between the variants includes additional gauges, dial and bezel features, dial and bezel colours, illumination colours and series-level warning lights. Content included in all instrument clusters regardless of variant is:

  • Speedometer
  • Tachometer
  • Fuel gauge
  • Temperature gauge
  • Return to zero feature when ignition is off for all gauges
  • Warning lights
  • Multi-function Display (MFD) with full dot matrix LCD screen for set-ups, messages and warnings information

The MFD relays a range of function status information to the driver, including a large digital speed display, overspeed, odometer, tripmeter, system warnings, audio information and trip computer information. The trip computer function provides information on:

  • Range (distance to empty)
  • Fuel used
  • Average fuel economy
  • Instant fuel economy
  • Average Speed
  • Distance to destination
  • Travel time

Audio function information is integrated into the MFD to show items such as the active media source (AM, FM, CD, MP3, Aux), station identification (frequency or RDS), track number and song name.

The MFD is able to display audio information even when the satellite navigation screen is active (where satellite navigation is fitted) or the standard home ICC screen is off.

With the introduction of the new Set-Point cruise control system on FG Falcon, the MFD shows cruise control status including Cruise On, Set and set Speed, while there is now also a "one touch lane change indicator".

The one touch lane change function for the indicators provides a minimum of three indicator flashes with a momentary press on the indicator stalk, but can be configured on or off through the menu.
The MFD is configurable via the instrument cluster menu switches, which allows the user to determine what driver information they want to view via the Menu options.

Cluster settings can also be personalised to the key fob, so your preferred settings are remembered upon unlocking the vehicle. Personalised settings can include display content, settings, illumination dimming levels and overspeed setting.

Vehicle and vehicle system warnings are shown on the MFD with an easily recognisable symbol and corresponding text, which pops up on the screen to warn of a specific event, when necessary.

New warning functions include:

  • Driver fatigue warning
    • Appears in the cluster accompanied by a sound chime, to remind the driver to take sufficient breaks during long periods of travel – configurable for two, three and four hour intervals
  • Transmission not in Park warning
    • Displays a warning on opening of the driver's door if the automatic transmission has not been put into the Park position

Cluster illumination is determined by the ambient light level via an ambient light sensor, independent of the headlight status – it compensates for using headlights during the daytime or travelling through a tunnel.


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