New Video Details Ford’s Off-Road Driver-Assist Set to Debut in 2019

September 10, 2018 by Jack Nerad

Ford released a video Monday showing off its new Trail Control off-road semi-autonomous driver-assist system. The company says the feature will debut on the Ford Ranger and Ford F-150 Raptor pickup trucks.

The Trail Control system is designed to help drivers navigate challenging conditions — Ford even describes it as cruise control for off-road driving. Mercedes-Benz recently announced a similar system for its 2019 G-Class SUV.

Ford’s Trail Control manages throttle and braking automatically, meaning the driver won’t have to manipulate the accelerator and brake. This enables drivers to focus on steering through challenging off-road conditions.

When engaged, Trail Control automatically applies power to the appropriate wheels individually to aid in rock climbing. It can also brake individual wheels to ease descents. If a truck gets stuck in deep sand, the system eases torque to the wheels to help the vehicle dig itself out.

The system can be activated at speeds from 1 mph up to 20 mph. Ford says the F-150 Raptor is the only pickup that allows drivers to operate Trail Control in all 4×4 modes.

In addition to the Trail Control system, the 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor will have electronically controlled shock absorbers. Developed jointly by Ford Performance and Scotts Valley, Calif.-based Fox, the live valve shock absorbers continuously adjust damping.

Suspension and body sensors deliver information to the control unit that then signals the adjustments in milliseconds. The system is designed to maximize comfort and handling while helping prevent the truck from bottoming out.

Beyond the high-tech off-road systems, the 2019 F-150 Raptor will also have new seats. The Recaro sport seats are heavily bolstered to provide enhanced support to driver and passenger. The seat design features blue Alcantara inserts and accent stitching.

The 2019 F-150 Raptor will be available in three new exterior colors: Ford performance blue, velocity blue and agate black. The upgraded 2019 F-150 Raptor is built at the brand’s Dearborn, Mich., truck plant. It will arrive in Ford dealerships soon.

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