Ford's F-150 pickup truck is both hugely popular and just plain huge: It's hard to see the road, see cars coming up beside you, or back up in the parking lot, from its lofty cab. On Monday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Ford unveiled a heavily revamped model for the 2015 model year. The new F-150 will have several features to make it safer and smarter, taking cues from the passenger-car segment.
In a first for pickups, the F-150 will have a new 360-degree, bird’s-eye camera view. Common in Infiniti cars already, the cameras are mounted in the front grille, the rear bumper, and the side mirrors, and their images are stitched together for a continuous view all around the truck.
The new F-150 also uses the touchscreen features of the higher-end Ford sedans. The new 8-inch touchscreen will show climate controls, radio, and navigation settings. The analog instrument cluster, which has started looking a bit dated, will be all-digital.
New LED headlamps will help with visibility at night. On cars like the Audi A8, LED lighting casts a bright glow over the highway to help you spot objects. Because pickups are often used on lonely country roads, the new LED lighting will be a welcome safety upgrade. Ford is also adding several well-known safety features common to the Taurus line: automated parallel parking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warnings, and blind spot detection.
Trucks are exempt from some safety obligations required on passenger cars, but the drivers are the same, frail and fallible human beings in either case. The new F-150 is a big step in the right direction for pickup truck safety. Ford has yet to announce pricing or availability.
This story, "A big truck needs a big view: Ford builds 360-degree cameras into 2015 F-150 " was originally published by TechHive.