Archive for the 'technology' Category


Ford Experiments With In-Car Sensors To Predict Driver Behavior, Cut Stress

DEARBORN, Michigan — Ford predicts that in-car sensors will be the next big thing in vehicles.

Biometric sensors will measure the stress level of the driver and help to personalize driver-assist technologies, the automaker said.

The 2013 Ford Fusion previews the future, with 74 sensors that “can monitor the perimeter around the car and see into places that are not readily visible from the driver’s seat,” Ford said.

“Fusion features an unprecedented level of sensors for its driver-assist technologies,” said Paul Mascarenas, Ford’s chief technical officer, in a statement.

Ford said it is researching the use of real-time sensor data — both radar and camera-based — that can help to evaluate external factors affecting driver attention, such as traffic congestion. The real-time sensor data can cut potential distractions, such as an incoming phone call.

Ford researchers are also looking at ways to predict driver behavior to “help optimize and configure vehicle controls for improved performance such as better energy management,” the automaker said.

The automaker is also experimenting with “advanced machine learning.” This technology is previewed in EV+, a feature found in the 2013 Ford Fusion and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrids. It “learns” typical locations of charging and then “automatically maximizes electric-only driving mode when nearing those locations,” the automaker noted.


Ford prices 2013 Focus ST from $24,495* [UPDATE: Configurator launches]

UPDATE: The Focus ST has officially been added to Ford’s configurator. Click here to build one yourself.

Well now, the inexpensive performance game just got considerably more interesting. Ford has officially dropped pricing on its upcoming 2013 Focus ST, and it starts at $24,495 (*including a $795 delivery charge). That kind of coin will net you a EcoBoost 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine good for a whopping 252 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, along with a torque-steer compensation system that works in conjunction with electronic power steering to keep the nose pointed in the right direction. If you’re keeping track, those power metrics are slightly north of the figures Ford had previously released. A variable-ratio steering rack toes the line between sport and comfort while the sport suspension sits the chassis 10 mm closer to the ground than the stock configuration.

That fire-spitting four-cylinder breathes easy through a free-flowing exhaust, and interior options like Recaro bucket seats give the cabin a little pedigree. Of course, massive wheels and plenty of aero work are both part of the package as well. What’s more, Ford says it will give early buyers a GoPro HD Hero2 Motorsports camera when they pick up the keys. Sweet.

The entry price puts the Focus ST well below fellow front-drive competitors like the Volkswagen GTI and Mazdaspeed3, but within spitting distance of playful hardware like the Toyobaru twins and the all-wheel drive Subaru WRX. Suddenly, it appears we live in a world where cheap speed is in abundance.



The Geek Dream Car: Project Detroit Brings Windows 8 and Kinect to a Mustang

What do you get when you cross a retro Ford Mustang with the finest of new technology, such as Microsoft Kinect and a variety of other Windows services? A dream car that can’t possibly exist. Fortunately, it is very much real, thanks to West Coast Customs.

The California-based car customizers teamed up with Microsoft to create this impressive car, currently named Project Detroit. The car itself is actually a 2012 Ford Mustang in a 1967 Mustang fastback body, modded with neon blue under-car lighting. The best part, though, is what’s going on inside the car.

First off, you can remotely locate, lock, and unlock the car using the Viper SmartStart app on a Windows Phone. Once you’re inside the car, the dashboard greets you with a whole load of awesome: In addition to Ford SYNC, a Windows 8 touchscreen on the passenger’s of the dash side lets a passenger play on Xbox without distracting the driver, surf the Web, or pull up Bing maps-to give you directions or find the nearest restaurant so you don’t have to.

The car also has a heads-up display on the windshield. Plus, for extra entertainment, when you park, the rear windshield doubles as a projector for playing Xbox Kinect.

Continue reading ‘The Geek Dream Car: Project Detroit Brings Windows 8 and Kinect to a Mustang’


Ford First to Enable iHeartRadio App Inside the Car Using Voice Control

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 11, 2012 — /PRNewswire/ —


  • Ford is first to launch iHeartRadio app with voice control using SYNC® AppLink™
  • The new iHeartRadio, Clear Channel’s industry-leading digital radio service, delivers more than 800 of the nation’s most popular live broadcast and digital-only stations, plus user-created custom stations – all in one fully integrated service
  • The SYNC-enabled iHeartRadio app is now available for download from the iTunes App Store and BlackBerry App World; it’s coming soon to the Android Market
  • iHeartRadio is the sixth app for SYNC AppLink that Ford is launching at the 2012 International CES
  • iHeartRadio is one of the first broadcast radio apps to connect listeners through a native in-car system to Facebook Timeline


Ford (NYSE: F) today announced it is the first automobile company to give drivers easy in-car access to the popular iHeartRadio app using voice control through Ford SYNC® AppLink™.

Continue reading ‘Ford First to Enable iHeartRadio App Inside the Car Using Voice Control’


Ford’s Sync in-car computer now inside 4M cars, adds on-demand NPR and navigation apps

source: MobileBeat

Ford’s in-car computer, Sync, is now installed in 4 million vehicles. To celebrate the milestone, the car company has added new abilities including hands-free voice navigation from Telenav and on-demand access to National Public Radio programs. The company announced the milestone and new apps at the Consumer Electronics Show Monday in Las Vegas.

In-car technology was one of the five big CES trends we predicted that would matter in 2012. Car markers, especially Ford, are racing (har har) to add connectivity and apps to their vehicle dashboards. Mercedes-Benz is expected to announce new in-car tech at CES as well.

Ford’s voice-activated Sync connectivity system was introduced in 2007 in the U.S. and lets smartphone owners do more with their cars by “syncing” with various smartphone apps. Ford will be bringing Sync to European and Asian models this year, and it believes an additional 9 million vehicles will be Sync-equipped by 2015.

One new Sync addition is a feature that lets drivers listen to National Public Radio programs and stations on-demand. Drivers will be able to piece together playlists comprised of programs such as Fresh AirAll Things Considered and Morning Edition using their voices. Just download the NPR smartphone app and you can begin to use with it Sync AppLink, which already works with Internet radio apps like Pandora, Slacker, iHeartRadio and Stitcher.

Ford also has updated its Sync Destinations mobile app, which lets drivers send all their destinations to their vehicle using the iPhone. The app now has added AppLink capabilities, and it can give turn-by-turn directions and it let drivers report traffic incidents in real-time. The Sync Destinations app will hit the BlackBerry and Android platforms before the end of Q1 2012.

Another upcoming addition to Sync is the ability to work with the new Scout navigation app by Telenav. The Scout app is available now for the iPhone and provides personalized navigation, turn-by-turn directions and traffic-based drive times. The Scout app will work with Sync later this year.


Ford Moves in on Silicon Valley

Ford Motor Company is the latest automaker to open a research lab in Silicon Valley, where it hopes to scout out new technology and keep ahead of trends.

The company said Friday that it plans to open the lab near Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., in the first few months of this year. It will employ around 15 people, including some recruited locally and others who will rotate in from Ford’s headquarters in Dearborn.

Ford’s Chief Technical Officer Paul Mascarenas said the company decided about a year ago that it needed a bigger presence in Silicon Valley.

“This is a very natural extension into one of the most innovative communities in the world,” he said.

He said the lab will work on ways to better integrate phones and other personal devices into cars, as well as safety systems that alert drivers when they’re approaching another car.

The lab will also solicit and test applications from independent programmers. One app Ford is currently studying can find an open parking space and reserve it. Another would improve weather reporting by transmitting signals when a car’s rain-sensing wipers are triggered.

Mascarenas said the lab will also study larger issues, including population growth in developing countries like China and India, and how best to handle traffic in those countries.

The lab will work with Ford headquarters as well as its design studio in Southern California and its office at Microsoft Corp. in Washington. Microsoft and Ford jointly developed Ford’s Sync voice-activated entertainment system and My Ford Touch touch-screen dashboard.

But Mascarenas said it’s important that the lab be in Silicon Valley — not Dearborn — so employees feel free to experiment.

Ford joins several other automakers that have similar offices in Silicon Valley, including General Motors Co., BMW AG and the Renault-Nissan alliance.

K. Venkatesh Prasad, a senior technical leader at Ford who will commute between Dearborn and the new office, said Ford considered opening a Silicon Valley office in the past but the technology wasn’t ready. Now, he said, the Sync platform makes it easier and faster to reprogram the car and update it with new applications. Ford introduced Sync four years ago.

“The car is finally a platform,” Prasad said.


Ford Drives Into The Cloud

source: Jason Meyers, Cloud IT Pro

Auto manufacturerFord Motor Companyplans to use its CEO’s keynote presence on the Consumer Electronics Show stage in January to demonstrate not only its automotive ingenuity, but also how much it is addressing the always-connected lifestyle of its customers in the design of its vehicles. At the center of all of it? The cloud.

The company’s Ford Evos Concept car will make its first appearance in North America at the 2012 International CES in Las Vegas, Jan. 10-13, 2012. Ford previewed the vehicle at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. Among other features, the car promises toenhance the experience of driving through the application of cloud computing—exchanging data between vehicle, office and home—to address functions like driver personalization and adaptability.

According to Ford, the cloud-based technology in the car will address applications including adaptive vehicle dynamics, driver health and well-being and smart electrification. Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally will participate in the CES Innovation Power Panel on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012 at 9 a.m.

Continue reading ‘Ford Drives Into The Cloud’

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