Ergonomics done right.®
January 17th, 2012

Hands-free Liftgate: Ergonomic or Aggravating?

by Winnie Ip, CPE

With the North American International Auto Show underway in Detroit this week, conversation has naturally been centered aroundHands-free Liftgate cool cars and features to look for.  When Ford announced a couple of years ago their new hands-free liftgate feature to be found on 2013 Ford Escapes, a lot of buzz was created.  Check out the YouTube link here.

So what’s the ergonomics lowdown?


  • Complete hands-free operation allows user to open liftgate even while holding a full load
  • Uses gesture-based technology borrowed from the interactive gaming community
  • Liftgate height can be programmed or adjusted manually to meet the needs of various users


  • Users have to get very close to the liftgate to be able to activate the feature (sensor is under the vehicle)
  • Users have to move out of the way to avoid being smacked in the chin (upon opening) or head (upon closing)
  • Kicking motion required results in awkward postures (think of holding a mound of shopping bags and packages and balancing on one leg)

Even for someone who loves technology (think using my iPhone in between playing  rounds of bowling on my Wii) sometimes the traditional method may be best. What do you think?