Kick to open, the new idea from Ford

Ford will offer an innovative hands-free tailgate for the all-new Kuga, offering customers a first-in-class, kick-activated means of accessing the boot.

Ford will offer an innovative hands-free tailgate for the all-new Kuga, offering customers a first-in-class, kick-activated means of accessing the boot.

The hands-free system enables Kuga customers to gently kick a foot beneath the rear bumper to open and close the tailgate without setting down packages or gear. The new Kuga was revealed yesterday (Tuesday) at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.

The development team spent six months working with Ford’s Human Machine Interface laboratory, using volunteers to test prototype systems fitted to a previous generation Kuga. Rigorous real-life testing perfected the required kick and ensured there was no interference with other systems.

The hands-free tailgate builds on Ford’s Intelligent Access push-button start. It allows customers, who have their key on their person, to unlock and start their vehicles without having to take it out of their pocket or purse.

Two sensors in the rear bumper detect a person’s shin and kicking motion. The system safeguards against accidental opening by being programmed to open with leg motions – not when an animal runs under the car or when the vehicle hits a bump on the road.

The system made its debut on Kuga’s sister model, the Ford Escape, in North America, late last year. Ford engineers re-calibrated the system for Europe to ensure it would still work if a tow bar had been fitted - as this is an option frequently chosen by European Kuga customers.

The automatic hands-free tailgate is launched as an option with Keyless Entry on the all-new Kuga later this year.