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Ford Mondeo’s New cabin air filtration could prevent driving blind after sneezing at the wheel

Ford in Europe is introducing on the all-new Mondeo a new air filtration system that blocks up to 99% of pollen, almost all nitrogen dioxide—a key trigger of asthma—as well as gaseous pollutants and odors.

The new filter is 50% more effective than its predecessor at blocking ultra-fine particles, said Volker Scheer, technical expert, Environment and Health, Ford of Europe.

Developed by engineers from Ford’s European Research Centre in Aachen, Germany, the new filtration system is constructed from activated charcoal—similar to advanced gas masks, respirators, and spacesuits—and offers a considerably larger surface area. The air quality sensor detects carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide levels outside the car and shuts down incoming air. As required, it also automatically switches on the advanced filtration and air recirculation.

The technology will particularly benefit hayfever sufferers—more than a quarter of all Europeans. Research has identified that an attack of hayfever, while driving, may impair the affected driver to a degree that is comparable to a blood alcohol level of 0.04 per cent, close to the legal limit in most European countries. Sufferers are a third more likely to be involved in a collision.

Sneezing at a speed of 95 km/h (60 mph) can result in the driver “driving blind” for up to 20 meters. Hayfever sufferers alone—more than a quarter of Europeans—now cope with a pollen season that extends 10 months of the year, and are a third more likely to be in a collision.

The replacement interval for the advanced filter system with the all-new Mondeo will be two-years/30,000 kilometers—almost twice that of its predecessor, Scheer said.