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Ford To Invest In Microweather Technology For Autonomous Cars

Ford To Invest In Microweather Technology For Autonomous Cars

This could be a game-changing technology in the field of self-driving cars

Ever wondered what will happen to the autonomous cars when the weather conditions are bad? What if it’s raining and your self-driving car gets cold feet err., cold tires? Ford has given it a thought and invested in a company called ClimaCell. ClimaCell specializes in "microweather" technology capable of tracking location-specific, short-term weather patterns; and it has caught Ford’s attention. The Blue Oval recently participated in a Series B funding round that raised $45 million for ClimaCell.

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Ford Expects Us to Trust its V-to-V Communication With Life and Death Decisions

Ford Expects Us to Trust its V-to-V Communication With Life and Death Decisions

It’s all about getting into a sync and keeping the rhythm

Ford is working on a technology known as Intersection Priority Management, and its whole purpose is to analyze how intelligent speed reductions can improve transit by limiting when cars have to stop at traffic signals or intersections. This system will use Ford’s vehicle-to-vehicle technologies to relay the information between nearby cars and city infrastructure.

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Ford Partners With Lyft and Uber to Leverage Big Data and Reduce Traffic

Ford Partners With Lyft and Uber to Leverage Big Data and Reduce Traffic

Hoping for a lot more companies to join them to create a bigger database

In a press release, Ford Motor Company, Lyft, Uber, and the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) have announced that they are teaming up with SharedStreets, to study and analyze traffic conditions in cities and find ways to decongest the roads. This urban mobility study will enable them to make the city roads more efficient. This collaboration was announced by Jim Hackett, Khosrowshahi, and Zimmer, CEOs of Ford, Uber and Lyft, at the second annual Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York City. Looks like a CSR activity which will help the world a lot.

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Ford Takes the Fun Out of Off-Roading with Trail Control for the 2019 Ford Raptor

Ford Takes the Fun Out of Off-Roading with Trail Control for the 2019 Ford Raptor

Do you really want a robot calling the shots out there?

Off-roading can be a lot of fun - from exploring the great outdoors, to finding the right line through a challenging bit of terrain, to extracting every ounce of capability from your vehicle, it’s just the right activity to get away from it all. Now, Ford hopes to make it more accessible with its new Trail Control system for the 2019 F-150 Raptor, which the company likens to “cruise control for off-road driving.” Color us skeptical.

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Online Car Shopping Is Coming And Ford Is Ready To Roll With New Service

Online Car Shopping Is Coming And Ford Is Ready To Roll With New Service

Helps to circumvent much of the traditional buying experience

As more and more services and goods move away from the real world in favor of some kind of online option (remember CD stores?!), automakers are looking to build their own digitized alternative. The latest to offer car buyers an online buying service is Ford, which just announced the initial rollout of its Ready.Shop.Go program.

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Patent Watch: Ford Aims to Complicate Cars Further with Voice Activated Door Openers

Patent Watch: Ford Aims to Complicate Cars Further with Voice Activated Door Openers

There’s a fine line between useful and pointless. Guess which side of that line this patent is.

Sometimes, you have to start wondering how far automakers are willing to go to automate every square inch of a car. We’ve already seen patents for augmented reality safety systems, backward-facing driver seats, under seat capture devices, and believe it or not, cloaking devices. The question begs: what’s next? Well, in the case of Ford, voice-activated doors are next. Yes, voice-activated doors are a thing in the patent world because opening and closing doors the traditional way has become too much of a burden for the world’s population.

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Lord Help US - Ford Wants to Put Ticket-Serving Autonomous Police Cars on the Road

Lord Help US - Ford Wants to Put Ticket-Serving Autonomous Police Cars on the Road

Say goodbye to sweet-talking your way out of a ticket

The race to develop autonomous driving technology is taking shape in a number of potential applications. For Ford, it’s not enough to have an autonomous car-sharing service or a self-driving car for the masses. The Blue Oval is thinking out of the box with a vision to put the technology into a police car. It may not be on the level of Skynet just yet, but Ford’s idea of a self-driving police car could be the future of law enforcement on the road.

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The Tiny EcoSport Promises to Hack your Life

The Tiny EcoSport Promises to Hack your Life

It’s like totally #millennial and stuff

Ford is unabashedly targeting millennials who love a good #lifehack with its new EcoSport compact crossover. Not only does it have an affordable price tag, but Ford keeps lauding the five-seater’s modern connectivity features like 4G LTE Wi-Fi, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, and its new Ford+Alexa system. Well, Ford is now adding to the app-friendly EcoSport thanks to the integration of Waze, the community-based traffic and navigation app.

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Ford Wants to Build Networks for Cities

Ford Wants to Build Networks for Cities

Connectivity is the key to taking back the streets

A lot of ambitious ideas were thrown around at the Consumer Electronics Show, most interesting of all was Ford’s "City of Tomorrow" vision. CEO Jim Hackett went to CES to unveil the automaker’s plan to offer cities networks and technology to smooth the flow of goods and improve the quality of lives among its people. Part of that plan includes building a “transportation mobility cloud” that would allow cities to use a shared platform to manage autonomous vehicles and connect people to different types of transportation.

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Ford CEO Jim Hackett Wants To “Take Back The Streets”

Ford CEO Jim Hackett Wants To “Take Back The Streets”

Planning for the future is gonna take some fancy tech

As urban centers become more and more densely populated, our current transportation grid is failing to keep pace. In a recent post to Medium, Ford Motor Company’s head honcho talks about what the Blue Oval is doing to sort out the next generation of A-to-B solutions, focusing primarily on using technology to make them more people friendly in an effort to “take back the streets.”

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Ford to Push Technologically Advanced Cars to Stop Share Price Landslide

Ford to Push Technologically Advanced Cars to Stop Share Price Landslide

It’s time for Ford to get on-board with tech and quit relying on big trucks for income generation

Ford CEO, Jim Hackett, is looking to lead a technological revolution, saying that “dumb cars” have no place and Ford isn’t going to be left behind. The revolution begins by focusing on assisted, autonomous, and electric vehicles now and in the future.

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4WD Systems Are More Complex Than You Think

4WD Systems Are More Complex Than You Think

Watch as Engineering Explained runs through the details of the Ford F-150 Raptor

The Ford F-150 Raptor is the undisputed king of off-roading pickups – at least in the full-size segment. And now with the Raptor having entered its second generation for 2017, Ford upped the ante with whiz-bang tech that makes this Baja blaster even more capable in nearly every driving condition. Much of that tech centers on the Raptor’s 4WD system. But rather than some dogleg shifter protruding from the floor, the Raptor’s transfer case is multi-talented. It can be both 4WD and AWD, not to mention having modes for RWD and neutral. Hang on to your thinking caps, kids.

In order to make the Raptor a true all-terrain monster – meaning good on-road performance and good off-road performance no matter the type of terrain – Ford developed a special transfer case that intelligently distributes power to where it’s needed. There are four main modes, all of which are electronically controlled via both the dash-mounted knob and the Raptor’s drive modes. While the Raptor is the only vehicle that currently employs this exact system, other vehicles have had similar drivetrain setups with automatic 4WD. General Motors debuted its Autotrac system in the late 1990s. It could operate in RWD, 4WD, or a 4WD Auto mode. Likewise, the Toyota 4Runner offers a full-time 4WD system with a similar operation, minus a RWD mode. Technically speaking, this means the 4Runners has a full-time 4WD system rather than a part-time 4WD system. Land Rovers are perhaps the best-known SUV for having a full-time 4WD system. All come standard with a computer-controlled full-time system that diverts power to whatever wheels have traction. Many models go a step further by adding a 4WD Low range, which uses different gears within the transfer case to multiply torque that’s sent to the wheels. 4WD Low is best for low-speed crawling or pulling a heavy load at low speeds over a short distance, like recovering a stuck vehicle or pulling a tree off a trail.

But how’s the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor’s 4WD system work? Glad you asked; Keep reading for more – and that informative video from Engineering Explained.

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Ford's Trying To One-Up Toyota In Useful Patent Applications

Ford’s Trying To One-Up Toyota In Useful Patent Applications

I’m fully on board with the idea of a self-leveling cup holder

It’s hard to imagine these days being the season of strange patent applications, and yet here we are. Another day, another automaker with an amusing patent application that, in hindsight, should probably have been done years ago. Ford, for all of its engineering and innovation, is now looking into developing a unique contraption that essentially makes cup holders a lot more useful than they already are.

Imagine this: you have a hot cup of coffee while you’re on the road. The only place to put it in is in the cup holder, right? Well, cup holders have never been the most useful of items because any sudden external force experienced by a car, be it acceleration or braking, ends with the contents of the cup, in this case, coffee, spilling everywhere. Ford, however, has a designed what it calls a self-leveling cup holder that renders all these external forces moot. You can blast off the highway, brake suddenly, and the coffee stays where it’s supposed to be: inside the cup. The device itself is a good idea. A little strange, or at least late in the game, but a good idea nonetheless. It’s on par with Toyota’s own under-seat device patent application, which itself is a fascinating new wrinkle to the functionality of a car’s interior. It’s unclear, though, whether Ford has any plans for this patent beyond applying for it. Don’t expect it to arrive soon because even if the Blue Oval does bring this new feature to life, it’s unlikely to happen anytime soon. Still, a self-leveling cup holder that’ll keep your beverage in place sounds like a good idea.

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2017 Ford "Autolivery" Concept

2017 Ford "Autolivery" Concept

A self-driving delivery van could prove to be mighty useful if developed properly

Given the direction the auto industry seems to be headed, we’re at a point where self-driving cars roaming our streets is far less improbable as it once was. Automakers like Tesla are pioneering this movement, and while the industry itself is still in the embryonic stage of this technological tipping point, enough progress has been made that ideas like self-driving delivery fans like the one Ford presented earlier this year are no longer being scoffed at. Heck, if Amazon can start using drones to deliver packages to its customers, there’s little reason to imagine a future without something like the Blue Oval’s “Autolivery” Concept.

First of all, this concept vehicle isn’t what you’d consider a traditional concept as defined by the auto industry. It’s futuristic in nature, sure, but it doesn’t provide anything concrete that can be adapted to real-world production cars of the future. Instead, the “idea” of the Autolivery Concept is the concept itself. It’s the idea of a self-driving van that works in concert with drones to deliver and transport everyday items on the ground, be it parcels, groceries, or even medical supplies. Think of it as a UPS van without a driver driving it. That’s the ethos of the Autolivery Concept, which takes its name from an amalgam of the words “automatic” and “delivery.” The concept itself is intriguing, in large part because of the potential of its real-world application. There’s no denying that there’s something inherently appealing about a delivery process that’s far more efficient than the ones we have right now and Ford aims for the Autolivery Concept to be a big part of reaching that solution.

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Biometric Sensors and Funky Shifters... What is Ford Up To?

Biometric Sensors and Funky Shifters... What is Ford Up To?

So, just a couple of weeks ago, Fortune ran a story about Ford CEO, Mark Fields, approaching Flex (the maker of devices like wearable fitness trackers and diabetes monitors) about integrated biosensors into cars. Fields believes that the use of biometric sensors could help prevent traffic accidents and fatalities long before Level 5 autonomy comes into play. The main purpose would be to detect if a person was sleepy so that the car could act accordingly. But, with a little bit of forward thinking, it could also be used to determine if you’ve been drinking, doing drugs, or are otherwise inebriated. But, perhaps Ford needs to install biometric sensors in its facilities instead, considering this ridiculously confusing shifter design that it’s filed with the patent office.

The patent isn’t exactly new, as it was filed back in November of 2015, but it’s what’s inside the patent description that’s really troubling. See, instead of having your traditional shifter on the steering column or center console, Ford wants to add a pair of switches to the steering wheel – one to activate drive and the other to switch into park, reverse, and neutral. Here’s the interesting thing, though. You have to cycle through the park, reverse, and neutral gears to get to the gear you want each time. Furthermore, based on deciphering the outrageous language of the patent, once you’re in reverse, you wouldn’t be able to return to park without first putting the car in drive.

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Will the Ford GT's Drive Modes Stop Owners From Going Full Mustang?

Will the Ford GT’s Drive Modes Stop Owners From Going Full Mustang?

The system includes a V-Max setting for maximum speed!

The Ford GT may be all official and available to customers — with the first allocation already sold out — but FoMoCo is still rolling out information about the supercar as buyers await delivery. We’ve already learned about the tremendous technology behind the new GT, such as the industry-first gorilla glass windshield and the carbon-fiber wheels, and now it’s time to have a closer look at the car’s driving modes. The GT will come with five, each prepared for different driving scenarios.

Much like any vehicle out there, the American supercar starts off in Normal mode. Conceived for everyday driving, the Normal mode sets the ground clearance at 120 mm, while throttle and transmission calibrations are set up for standard driving. Traction and stability control systems cannot be adjusted, while the rear wing deploys automatically for aero assistance at 90 mph, returning to its normal position at 81 mph. The wing still deploys as an airbrake if sensors detect aggressive braking. Finally, the driver can soften the suspension by adjusting compression and rebound in the dampers at the press of a button.

In the Wet setting, which is obviously recommended for wet tarmac and rainy conditions, the ride height and other systems remain in their default, Normal-mode setup. However, throttle control is adjusted to limit the induction of slipping and sliding, thus enabling greater stability. The comfort suspension can also be activated in this mode.

Then there’s Sport mode, yet another feature that’s rather common for modern vehicles. When using this setting, the driver gets a more responsive throttle calibration and the anti-lag system kicks in. Developed for the Le Mans-winning GT race car, the anti-lag keeps the turbo spinning at all time to provide boost on demand. The normal ground clearance remains in place here too, but the comfort feature is deactivated, while AdvanceTrac stability and traction control become driver-adjustable allowing three additional settings. The Sport mode also allows more slip, yaw, and oversteer, while gear changes are made quicker and the clutch disengages more rapidly for enhanced acceleration.

Setting the Ford GT apart from most performance cars are the Track and V-Max mode, but more on those after the jump.

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The 2018 Ford F-150 Will Have Night Vision!

The 2018 Ford F-150 Will Have Night Vision!

Get ready to see into the dark (Sort of)

Ford has developed a new nighttime pedestrian detection system and will introduce it on the 2018 F-150 pickup, along with the 2018 Mustang and European-spec 2018 Fiesta. The system is designed to help drivers better detect people walking along the roadside in low-light conditions. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the European Road Safety Observatory show that pedestrians are far likelier to be hit at night. While it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand why, Ford is taking logical steps to help reduce the problem.

The system works by processing information from the bumper-mounted radar system and the windshield-mounted camera. That info is digitally compared against an onboard database of “pedestrian shapes.” Should the system detect what it believes is a person, an audible tone and visual warning light alerts the driver to danger. Should the driver not take action and the system detect an imminent impact, it will autonomously activate the brakes.

The Nighttime Pedestrian Detection System will be an available option for 2018, though it will likely become standard on high trim levels soon after. In the years to come, expect to see such technology incorporated within every vehicle’s autonomous driving system.

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Ford Launches FordHub Just In Time For Super Bowl LI

Ford Launches FordHub Just In Time For Super Bowl LI

The Blue Oval looks to the future with a new advert and brand experience studio

Ready the wings, fire up the nachos, and prepare yourself for some daytime drinking. Super Bowl LI is upon us, and whether you’re rooting for the Patriots or the Falcons, this great American pastime is sure to bring plenty of entertaining advertisements during the commercial breaks. As such, just before kickoff, Ford will lead the charge with a new 90-second ad that spotlights a few mobility solutions the brand has in the oven to help make our lives easier. Coinciding with the ad is a new interactive brand experience studio that’s opening up in New York City, which promises a more in-depth look at what Ford imagines the future of transportation will look like.

The studio is called FordHub, and it’s located in the Westfield World Trade Center. Ford hopes the new hub will help it connect with consumers and inspire “imagination and dialogue” about the future of mobility through a variety of activities, exhibits, and interactive displays.

Included is a glimpse at what Ford imagines to be the “City of Tomorrow,” highlighting some of the technologies people might use to get around. There’s also a real-time look at New York’s current transportation status, including traffic info, trains, ferries, and more.

Then there are games like the Last Mile Challenge, which pits attendees against the clock in a virtual race to get from A to B using multiple transportation solutions, and Mustang over Manhattan, wherein participants must virtually build Ford’s famous muscle car on top of the Empire State Building.

Finally, Ford is also announcing the Mobilize New York Challenge, which invites proposals to solve NYC’s transportation problems, with more than $30,000 in cash prizes offered as motivation.

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Ford Debuts Backward-Compatible Connectivity for Older Vehicles

Ford Debuts Backward-Compatible Connectivity for Older Vehicles

Are automakers finally catering to aftermarket tech upgrades?

Ford announced a new device that allows owners of 2010 through 2016 Ford and Lincoln products to retrofit non-connected vehicles with features like remote start, lock and unlock, Wi-Fi hotspot, vehicle heath and status reports, and location alerts. It’s called Ford SmartLink and it works by connecting to the vehicle’s OBD II plug and a cellular service. It gives owners the ability to control a variety of vehicle functions through a companion smartphone app and online website.

“Ford SmartLink will surprise and delight owners of recent model-year vehicles by adding some of today’s most popular connectivity features” said Stephen Odell, executive vice president, Global Marketing, Sales and Service. “Offering it through our dealerships is another way to keep us connected with our customers and earn their loyalty.”

Besides locking and unlocking the vehicle from a smartphone, SmartLink also produces a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to eight devices. The system works through the Verizon network and will likely be an addable device on any Verizon service plan. SmartLink has been in development for more than two years, with Ford collaborating with both Verizon Telematics and Delphi Automotive.

As for security, Ford says it has conducted extensive testing to ensure no issues will arise from having a wirelessly accessible vehicle. Of course, Ford isn’t the only company to develop smartphone apps that control various devices connected to the Internet of Things. From garage door openers and HVAC system, to door locks and refrigerators – the IOT is growing larger every day.

As for Ford, it could potentially use SmartLink to help sell pre-owned vehicles to customers riding the fence between a good deal and a well-equipped vehicle. The same benefits are true for customers who hang onto vehicles longer, yet still desire the modern features found on newer, and often times more expensive vehicles.

Raj Nair, Ford’s executive vice president of global product development and chief technical officer, said, “We are thrilled to offer this level of convenience and connectivity to our existing customers, extending the value of their vehicles and giving them just one more reason to love their Ford and Lincoln vehicles.”

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