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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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Ford CEO Wants To Sell Driverless Cars By 2025

Ford CEO Wants To Sell Driverless Cars By 2025

The goal doesn’t come without its challenges

Count Ford in as one of the many automakers pushing to develop autonomous driving technology but while others are developing their own tech for their own specific purposes, the Blue Oval is shooting for the stars with plans to start selling cars equipped with the technology to the public by 2025.

That bold proclamation came from no less than CEO Mark Fields, who made the plans known in a speech at the company’s headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. It’s not the first time that Fields has addressed the issue of mobility; he’s also made it a priority to introduce robot taxis and sell them to ride sharing services by 2021.

Given the changing landscape of the auto industry, it’s not uncommon for a company to start reevaluating its place in the industry, especially when a revolutionary technology like autonomous driving is on the cusp of redefining the business altogether. Fields believes that there’s a place for Ford to stake a big piece of that pie if the company can achieve its intended timetable.

That’s not to say that the automaker will be rushing the development and Fields himself stopped short of making any over-the-top promises until he gives a more detailed forecast of the company’s autonomous future. A meeting with investors is scheduled for Wednesday, September 13, and that’s where the CEO will pull the curtain on the company’s plans moving forward.

That said, the goal to sell self-driving cars by 2025 is a real thing and Mark Fields wants everybody to know that when it comes out with its technology, it’s going to be “accessible to millions.”

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2017 Ford Super Duty Offers Trailer Reverse Guidance

2017 Ford Super Duty Offers Trailer Reverse Guidance

Seven cameras make trailer-backing a no-stress task

The 2017 Super Duty’s optional Trailer Reverse Guidance system has enough cameras to make the NSA jealous. In total, seven wide-angle cameras cover the heavy-duty pickup and work both with Ford’s 360-degree parking system and its new trailer backing system. It’s all in an effort to make the Super Duty easier to use.

Ford is the first to offer such an extensive camera system from the factory on a heavy-duty truck. The automaker even has two pending U.S. patents on the technology. That isn’t stopping the competition, however, as Chevrolet just announced its dealer-installed camera system that works in much the same way. Though Chevy’s version isn’t offered from the factory, owners of 2014 or newer trucks can have the cameras installed.

The competition aside, Ford’s Trailer Reverse Guidance system works by using camera mounted under the rearview mirrors, on the tailgate, on the center high-mounted brake light, on the front grille, and a movable camera that attaches to the rear of the trailer.

The driver can switch between the views, or have a compiled overview shot of the truck. During a reversing maneuver, the two side-view cameras shift their view of the trailer as its angle changes, while the tailgate camera coaches the driver with guidance lines superimposed above the trailer tongue. Owners of Crew Cab Super Duties will appreciate the center high-mount brake light-mounted camera when hooking up a fifth-wheel or gooseneck trailer. The camera provides an unobstructed view of the bed. It’s also handy for keeping tabs on cargo.

The camera system also provides dynamic warnings if the trailer angle becomes too narrow, risking a jackknife situation. There’s even a steering wheel icon that indicates which direction to turn the wheel for reversing in a straight line.

Be sure to check out the video for a detailed look at Ford’s Trailer Reverse Guidance system in action.

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2014 Ford Lightweight Concept

2014 Ford Lightweight Concept

The Ford Lightweight Concept is a unique prototype. It doesn’t have any fancy new headlights or levitating cabins, but it does have new technology that could end up becoming one of the more important advancements in the industry. The "Lightweight Concept" name pretty much says it all. This prototype is all about showcasing advanced lightweight materials that lets future Ford models improve their performance and fuel efficiency, while also dropping the carbon-dioxide emissions.

Weight reduction and improved efficiency are two of the industry’s most important goals, and the Lightweight Concept features Ford at its innovative best. The Lightweight Concept makes use of advanced material applications like aluminum, ultra-high-strength steels, magnesium, and carbon fiber. Each of these materials were incorporated into the design of the vehicle, creating a blueprint that could pave the way for integrating lightweight advancements in future models.

It’s not going to blow anybody away in the same way "normal" concepts would. But that’s not the point with the Lightweight Concept. Rather, this concept is here to show off just how small innovations can lead to huge benefits in the future.

Should Ford reach that point, the company can look back to the Lightweight Concept as the prototype that made it possible to achieve long-term potential lightening solutions.

So don’t sleep on the Lightweight Concept just because it’s essentially a Ford Fusion with fancy and colorful graphics all over the body. This prototype could end up becoming one of the most important Ford has developed in recent years.

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