Artificial Intelligence Gives The 2019 Edge ST Better Economy & Grip

Soon Ford Performance’s hot hauler will hit dealer lots and it will straddle the line between fun and fuel economy thanks to a host features. Significant among them is an algorithm running in one of the 2019 Ford Edge ST’s onboard computers that determine whether front- or all-wheel drive is necessary, which is said to improve fuel economy and traction.

The fact that we’re able to switch seamlessly and without any input from the driver, that’s the real magic. — Scott Beiring, Ford

In just 10 milliseconds the software determines if the all-wheel-drive is necessary using fuzzy logic. It can then shuttle all of the available power to just the front wheels or to all four wheels as needed.

The 2019 Ford Edge, including the Edge ST, utilizes artificial intelligence to control its all-wheel-drive disconnect. It seamlessly transitions between two- and all-wheel drive as needed to improve economy or deliver traction. (Photo Credit: Ford Motor Company)

“The concept is pretty simple, it was the execution that was the challenge,” Scott Beiring, Ford driveline applications supervisor, said. “Shifting between two- and all-wheel drive needs to be fast and seamless enough that the customer doesn’t know it is happening.”

Housed in a new onboard computer, this software manages the all-wheel-drive disconnect operation by reviewing a wide range of data. As you might expect it picks up info from the traction control and anti-lock brakes, but it even checks the outside temperature, the windshield wiper engagement, and if a trailer is being towed. Taking all this into consideration, makes the decision which wheels need power from the 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine much faster than a person ever could.

“‘Fuzzy logic’ refers to the algorithm,” Scott explained. “It’s like you or I determining what to wear based on reading a weather forecast, where we’re going, the time of year and looking outside. In the case of the new Edge, just because the windshield wipers are on doesn’t mean all-wheel drive is going to engage. The algorithm makes the call based on a variety of things that are happening — but much faster than a person could process.”

And that is the trick to this system; the driver doesn’t even have to think about it because the vehicle has things under control.

“There are similar systems out there, but none quite like this,” he added. “The fact that we’re able to switch seamlessly and without any input from the driver, that’s the real magic.”

You can sample that magic later this month when the 2019 Edge models, including the ST, arrive on dealer lots.

2019 Ford Edge Fuel-Saving Features

• Active transmission warm-up and synthetic fluid reduce friction

• Active grille shutters, full underbody shields and air curtains maximize aerodynamic efficiency

• Deceleration fuel shut-off turns off fueling as speeds reduce

• Eight-speed automatic transmission with two overdrive gears

• Exhaust gas recirculation reduces pumping losses

• Standard Auto Start-Stop

About the author

Steve Turner

As Executive Editor of FordNXT and Ford Muscle, Steve Turner brings decades of passion and knowledge to Power Automedia. He has covered the world of Ford performance for over 20 years. From the swan song of the Fox Mustang to the birth of the Coyote, Steve had a front-row seat.
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