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The company suggests the safety system will make night driving less stressful.

Ford has announced plans to roll out improved pedestrian braking technology, starting with the F-150 and Mustang in the US.

Engineers developed a new system that now works at night for the first time, addressing the most common type of pedestrian accident. Citing National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics, Ford suggests three out of four vehicle-related pedestrian deaths occur during dark hours.

"We know some drivers find hitting the road at night a stressful experience," said Ford active safety engineer Gregor Allexi. "Especially driving in towns and cities, pedestrians - sometimes distracted by mobiles - can without warning step into the road, leaving even alert drivers very little time to avoid an accident."

The improves system relies on a radar sensor located in the number, along with a windshield-mounted camera, to monitor objects in the vehicle's path. Observations are then compared against a database of "pedestrian shapes" to distinguish people from other objects, such as trees and road signs.

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The system first provides audible and visual warnings to the driver, then automatically applies the brakes if the driver doesn't respond in time.

The technology will arrive in the US for 2018-model-year vehicles. In Europe, it will debut in the next-generation Fiesta.