Ford Edge and Edge ST leverage AI for better traction and fuel economy

Ford has announced that the 2019 Edge and Edge ST will leverage AI for something you wouldn't expect. Ford will equip the Edge with a new All-wheel-drive disconnect, a first for Ford. The AI will be used to sift through data to determine if all-wheel or front-wheel drive is optimal for the driving conditions.

That disconnect system can change from two-wheel drive to all-wheel drive in a fraction of a second says Ford. The AI will consider information like wheel slip, road conditions, vehicle speed, windshield wiper usage, and outside temperature to determine the best driving mode. The goal is to improve traction and reduce fuel usage for the driver.

The AI system claims to be able to make decisions faster than the human brain. An all-new dedicated electronic brain takes input from dozens of sensors in the vehicle and works with the traction control system to determine the best mode for given conditions. Ford says that the "fuzzy logic" algorithm can detect if it needs to engage or disengage the all-wheel-drive system in 10 milliseconds.

That system can distribute up to 100% of available power from the front to rear wheels depending on conditions. Ford also notes that the 2019 Edge is rated for an EPA-estimated 21 mpg city/28mpg highway/23mpg combined. The Edge ST with its 2.7L EcoBoost V6 is rated for 19mpg city/26mpg highway/21mpg combined.

To achieve those numbers with an SUV, Ford used a new 8-speed automatic transmission with two overdrive gears. Edge also features active transmission warm-up, auto-start-stop, deceleration fuel shut-off, and exhaust gas recirculation. 2019Edge models use active grilles shutters, full underbody shields, and air curtains for more efficiency. Both the 2019 Ford Edge and Edge ST are due in dealers this month.