Ford has rolled out artificial intelligence (AI) for its all-wheel-drive system found on the 2019 Ford Edge mid-size crossover. The system is in contrast to the brand’s crosstown rival, Chevrolet, which gives drivers the option to choose how the system behaves.
Ford Authority reported on the AI-infused technology on Tuesday, which uses “fuzzy logic” to determine how to best distribute power between the front and rear wheels.
“It’s like you or I determining what to wear based on reading a weather forecast, where we’re going, the time of year and looking outside. In the case of the new Edge, just because the windshield wipers are on doesn’t mean all-wheel drive is going to engage. The algorithm makes the call based on a variety of things that are happening – but much faster than a person could process,” said Ford Driveline Applications Supervisor Scott Beiring.
The “brain” of the system handles processes in 10 milliseconds to determine the best route for power and can send the full 100 percent of torque to the rear axle to help maintain control.
In contrast, Chevrolet vehicles feature a “Traction Mode Select” dial. Specifically, on the 2019 Chevrolet Traverse, the crossover features four modes: front-wheel drive, 4×4/snow, off-road and tow/haul. The Traverse High Country offers an even more advanced twin-clutch AWD system. The system calculates the best course of action via the driver-input without the use of AI, like Ford’s new system. However, as technology advances, it wouldn’t surprise us to see General Motors offer a similar kind of solution.
Ford also claims the AI system helps improve fuel efficiency, too. The 2019 Edge returns 1 mpg better than the outgoing 2.0L model with AWD. The Edge ST, with the 2.7L EcoBoost engine, returns 2 mpg better.
The Traverse doesn’t compete directly with the Edge mid-size crossover (although Chevy calls the three-row Traverse “mid-size”) but that will change next year. The 2019 Chevrolet Blazer will directly target the Edge with proper mid-size proportions.