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New Vehicle Technologies - UPDATE

by Eric Wulf | May 27, 2015

In January of this year we provided an update on the work of our operator-led working group that is focused on issues relating to new vehicle technologies. There were three primary issues:

  1. Transmissions that do not allow for vehicles to remain in neutral without the engine running.
  2. Vehicle sensors that engage the brakes when objects are near (e.g. "adaptive cruise control").
  3. External door lock keypads that can be inadvertently engaged.

ICA, with the support and assistance of our working group, approached the North American headquarters offices of most automotive manufacturers to make them aware of these issues and request their assistance. Thus far, one major manufacturer, Ford Motor Company, has provided their response:

"Lincoln (2013 to present) and not yet production Ford shift-by-Wire applications created a feature called 'Stay in Neutral mode'.  It is a mode, that when activated, allows the customer to leave  the vehicle and/or turn off the vehicle with the vehicle in Neutral.  The vehicle will remain 'awake' and drain the battery during this mode, but it allows a customer to run the vehicle through a car  wash without shifting to Park. Other OEMs do not have this feature, and require the engine to be running to shift the vehicle.  We are in the process of migrating this across Ford brand vehicles."

Vehicle Sensors
"Though this may be an issue for other manufacturers, our system will not activate the brakes below 7 mph, much faster than any carwash."

Door Lock Keypads
"We’ve recently implemented a design change that will prevent the keypad from locking the car when the vehicle is in any position other than “Park” which should solve this problem on all future  systems."

For more about Ford's "stay in neutral mode", see page 5 of the following reference guide for the 2014 MKZ (click here). 

We'd like to thank Ford for their attention to these issues, and for providing customer and car wash environment solutions that we hope other automobile manufacturers will consider. ICA will continue to make car wash operators aware of updates as they are available. In the interim, please visit our Vehicle Incident Reporting page to share your information.


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