Not all versions of the 2019 Ford Edge and Edge ST have all-wheel drive, but those that do will benefit from a new system that uses artificial intelligence (AI).
A first-for-Ford, the new technology is called ‘All-Wheel-Drive Disconnect’ and uses the information collected from dozens of sensors to determine whether all-wheel drive is needed.
The system calculates the data received in a fraction of a second and can shift between two- and all-wheel drive almost instantly. The brain of the electronic system communicates constantly with the Traction Control to detect wheel slip. It also receives inputs from the ABS, and can detect whether the windshield wipers are on, what’s the outside temperature and if the SUV is towing a trailer behind it.
However, having the windshield wipers on won’t engage all-wheel drive, as the algorithm, which uses ‘fuzzy logic’, combines the information received from the numerous sensors. It constantly monitors and processes the data and needs only 10 milliseconds to decide whether the vehicle needs AWD or not. Depending on the situation, the powertrain can channel up to 100 percent of the available power from the front to the rear wheels.
“The concept is pretty simple, it was the execution that was the challenge. Shifting between two- and all-wheel drive needs to be fast and seamless enough that the customer doesn’t know it is happening”, said the brand’s driveline applications supervisor, Scott Beiring. “It’s like your or I determining what to wear based on reading a weather forecast, where we’re going, the time of year and looking outside.”
Thanks to the ‘All-Wheel-Drive Disconnect’, the 2019 Ford Edge returns an EPA-estimated 21/28/23 mpg (25/34/28 mpg UK / 11/8/10 l/100 km) in city/highway/combined. FWD models have fuel economy ratings of 22/29/25 mpg (26/35/30 mpg UK / 11/8/9 l/100 km), while the Edge ST returns 19/26/21 mpg (23/31/25 mpg UK / 12/9/11 l/100 km).
Other fuel-saving measures include exhaust gas recirculation, deceleration fuel shut-off -which stops the fuel flow to the engine if speed is being reduced-, active transmission warm-up that uses the reclaimed heat energy to warm up the gearbox faster, and two overdrive gears for the new 8-speed auto which drop the rpm during highway cruising.
Further improving the vehicle’s aerodynamics are the active grille shutters, full underbody shields and air curtains, whose purpose is to reduce drag.