NEW YORK — Some Ford F-150’s could hit the brakes when they’re not supposed to, possibly causing an accident, the manufacturer said Wednesday.
Ford has recalled 37,000 of the best-selling trucks for the problem, which happens when its automatic braking system incorrectly senses that there’s another vehicle in its lane.
The problem will only occur when an F-150 is in what’s called “adaptive cruise control” mode, which will apply the brakes if it detects an obstacle. Ford said the problem can occur when the pickup passes a large, highly reflective truck. The radar can be fooled into thinking that large truck is in the F-150’s lane and then hit the brakes. The collision-warning system would also activate, flashing red lights and sounding an alarm in the F-150’s cab.
Ford said it’s aware of one accident that could be a result of this problem, but that is is not aware of any injuries. The problem can be addressed with a software update.
Automatic braking systems are becoming more common in cars, as buyers demand the safest autos possible. In June the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that safety regulators require automatic braking systems to become a standard feature on all new cars.
Separately, several companies including Googl, auto parts maker Delph and computer maker Appl are experimenting with self-driving cars. All of them use a form of radar to detect problems and obstacles ahead.
But while automatic braking systems can prevent accidents, they’re not flawless.
Earlier this year, Honda recalled 67,500 Acuras with an automatic braking system that can be triggered when a car changes lanes near a metal guard rail or fence. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also investigating complaints about the automatic braking system in the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The F-150 recall is one of six announced by Ford on Wednesday. The one with the broadest reach affects 340,000 Ford Windstar minivans, a vehicle that Ford has not built since 2003.The recall applies to Windstars from model year 1998 to 2003, and is a fix to a previous recall issued in 2012 for a rear axle.
Ford says some of the reinforcement brackets may have been installed incorrectly. It’s aware of a small number of accidents caused by the problem, but no injuries.