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FORD MAKES RANGE OF CONNECTED VEHICLE SERVICES COMPLIMENTARY FOR EUROPEAN DRIVERS

Ford has made a range of connected vehicle services complimentary to European customers, enabling drivers to control and monitor key features in their cars from their smartphone. 1

Drivers access connected vehicle features using the Ford Pass app which enables a variety of remote services, including checking on vehicle health, fuel level and oil levels, range, as well as locking and unlocking doors. 2

Previously, connected vehicle services were available to new vehicle owners as a two-year trial subscription. Ford has now waived subscription fees for most of its connected services, potentially saving drivers hundreds of pounds over the lifetime of a vehicle. 3

Ford Pass app features

With the Ford Pass app drivers can start their vehicle engine remotely, climatising the cabin to a comfortable temperature before setting out – useful for de-icing the windscreen on a frosty morning. 4

Push notifications and in-app vehicle health alerts highlight any issues that may need the owner’s attention, such as low tyre pressure or a failed light bulb. The Ford Pass app can also show the vehicle’s precise location, so drivers won’t need to worry about losing their car in a busy car park.

Being able to remotely lock and unlock their vehicle could help drivers who have forgotten whether they secured their car after walking away, or if they need to allow temporary access to a friend or family member without a key.

Owners can view and download summaries of recent trips to better analyse fuel usage and costs, and to help claim business mileage. Journeys can also be overlaid onto a map to reveal places where harsh braking or acceleration were identified, promoting more efficient driving.

Ford Pass provides support in the event of a breakdown too, automatically coordinating with roadside patrols to enable drivers to continue their journeys as quickly as possible. The Ford Pass app sends vehicle location and diagnostics information to the roadside assistance service, and gives drivers the reassurance of seeing where their patrol is and how quickly it will arrive. 5

Features for electrified vehicles

Ford Pass brings additional features that will help owners of electrified vehicles (EVs) such as the new Kuga Plug-In Hybrid and all-new Explorer Plug-In Hybrid.

Alongside information about battery level and electric driving range, the Ford Pass app helps EV owners benefit from off-peak electricity tariffs by enabling them to schedule vehicle charging. Ford Pass users can also set a departure time, warming or cooling the cabin while the vehicle is plugged in, leaving the battery to achieve the best range possible. The Ford Pass app also includes a convenient charging station locator to help driver’s top-up on the go.

The app provides feedback on fuel and electric energy usage too, including energy recaptured through regenerative braking and miles traveled using electric power alone, encouraging efficient driving behaviors to save fuel and reduce CO2 emissions.

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“Whether you’re double-checking you’ve locked your car or just making sure it’s healthy for the journey ahead, the connected car features in Ford Pass help bring convenience and reassurance to Ford owners.”

“From now on, every customer in Europe who buys a Ford can benefit from a range of complimentary connected vehicle services – this is an important part of delivering on our promise to make smart vehicles for a smart world.”

Richard Bunn, Ford Pass Director, Ford Mobility

Footnotes

1 Complimentary Ford Pass Connect modem subscription available to new and existing vehicles equipped with a Ford Pass Connect modem

2 Connection between vehicle and mobile app requires mobile data coverage. FordPass app compatible with Apple and Android smartphones and is available from the Apple App Store and Google Play store in 40 markets in Europe

3 Prior to April 2020, Ford Pass Connect modem example subscriptions for drivers in the UK and France were priced at £89 plus VAT and €99 incl tax for two years respectively. Local Hazard Information and Live Traffic features require a separate paid subscription after an initial complimentary trial; Wi-Fi Hotspot comes with 3 months or 3GB of complimentary data, requiring separate subscription with local mobile network provider thereafter. Future value-added services may require additional subscription.

4 Remote start feature available for vehicles (except Ranger) with automatic gearbox only, in regions where permitted by law; key must be present inside the vehicle for it to be driven

5 Digital Roadside Assistance feature currently available U.K., Spain, France and Portugal with further markets to follow

Source: Ford

How Ford Is Exploring the Quantum World with Microsoft to Help Reduce Congestion

Our connected world has helped billions of people improve their lives in numerous ways such as offering instant access to information, enhancing health care, providing new ways to watch movies or experience music, and equipping our homes with smart speakers.

Yet with all these advancements, many of us find ourselves stuck in more traffic, not less. The fantastic navigation technology that anyone can use and helps us more efficiently get places simply does not have the power to coordinate traffic on a mass scale.

But could it? Through a joint research pilot, Ford and Microsoft scientists have simulated thousands of vehicles and their impact on congestion by leveraging powerful quantum-inspired technology. While we’re still in the early stages of quantum computing development, encouraging progress has been made that can help us take what we’ve learned in the field and start to apply it to problems we want to solve today, while scaling to more complex problems tomorrow.

Julie Love, senior director at Microsoft leading their quantum computing business development, says, “Quantum computing has the potential to transform the auto industry and the way we move. To do that we need to have a deep understanding of the problems that companies like Ford want to solve, which is why collaborations like these are so important.”

Our researchers teamed up in 2018 to develop new quantum approaches running on classical computers already available to help reduce Seattle’s traffic congestion.

During rush hour driving, numerous drivers request the shortest possible routes at the same time, but current navigation services handle these requests in a vacuum. They do not take into consideration the number of similar incoming requests, including areas where other drivers are all planning to share the same route segments, when delivering results.

Just imagine a family trying to get ready for work and school in the morning with similar departure times. If an individual day planning app gave each person the quickest way to get going, there likely would be a bottle-neck at the bathroom. Now scale that to a family of thousands…

Instead of this type of individualized routing, what if we could develop a more balanced routing system — one that could consider all the various route requests from drivers and optimize route suggestions so that the number of vehicles sharing the same roads is minimized? That sounds great — and could potentially save everyone time, not to mention aggravation — but one major roadblock towards balanced routing is the fact that it would require extensive computational resources.

Simply put, it’s not feasible to have traditional computers find the optimal solution from a huge number of possible route assignments in a timely manner. That’s where quantum computing can help. Essentially, existing digital computers translate information into either a 1 or a 0, otherwise known as a bit. But in a quantum computer, information can be processed by a quantum bit (or a qubit) that can simultaneously exist in two different states before it gets measured. Upon measurement, however, either a 1 or a 0 appears randomly and the probability for each is governed by a set of rules called quantum mechanics.

This ultimately enables a quantum computer to process information with a faster speed. Attempts to simulate some specific features of a quantum computer on non-quantum hardware have led to quantum-inspired technology — powerful algorithms that mimic certain quantum behaviors and run on specialized conventional hardware. That enables organizations to start realizing some benefits before fully-scaled quantum hardware becomes available.

With the ability to process vast amounts of data that’s not possible today. It’s easier to imagine how quantum computing has the potential to deliver balanced routing to drivers, which could create a series of cascading benefits: smoother flow of traffic, more efficient commutes, and even reduced pollution.

Additional thoughts from Julie: “By taking what we’ve learned about quantum computing and bringing it to hardware that’s already available, we don’t have to wait until quantum computers are deployed on a wide scale to take advantage of the technology. Using world-class quantum algorithms customized for specific problems, we can bring measurable improvements and drive change that can impact people’s lives.”

Working with Microsoft, we tested several different possibilities, including a scenario involving as many as 5,000 vehicles — each with 10 different route choices available to them — simultaneously requesting routes across Metro Seattle. In 20 seconds, balanced routing suggestions were delivered to the vehicles that resulted in a 73 percent improvement in total congestion when compared to “selfish” routing. The average commuting time, meanwhile, was also reduced by 8 percent — an annual reduction of more than 55,000 hours saved in congestion across this simulated fleet.

 

These results are promising, so now we’re expanding our partnership with Microsoft to further improve the algorithm and understand its effectiveness in more real-world scenarios. For example, will this method still deliver similar results when some streets are known to be closed, if route options aren’t equal for all drivers, or if some drivers decide to not follow suggested routes? These and more are all variables we’ll need to test for to ensure balanced routing can truly deliver tangible improvements for cities.

Our collaboration with NASA last year also involved similar work around a routing efficiency problem for fleet vehicles, but our growing quantum computing team is working with Microsoft and others to investigate how this technology can be used in areas ranging from robotics to aerodynamics, as Ford continues to seek out ways to create better products and experiences for people.

This work with Microsoft is another example of how we are dedicated to finding innovative solutions for problems our cities face. Our recently unveiled City Insights Platform uses data and advanced software tools to enable cities to explore and help solve a variety of mobility issues. By leveraging parking, transit, traffic, safety and census data, City Insights Platform lets local planners test various concepts even before implementing them in the real world.

The scenario we explored with Microsoft is just one way that quantum-inspired solutions could be of interest to cities. Since we know how a quantum computer would attempt to solve a problem like this, we’ve reached a point where we can apply our knowledge to address near-term issues with hardware that we already have. That puts the future much closer to our grasp than many may have initially thought — and we are intent on seizing the opportunity.

Source: Dr. Ken Washington, Chief Technology Officer, Ford Motor Company

Ford SmartLink enables drivers of older cars to benefit from the latest connectivity platforms

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BACK TO THE FUTURE: FORD VEHICLE OWNERS CAN EASILY UPGRADE 2010 – 2016 VEHICLES TO HAVE CONNECTIVITY FEATURES

  • Ford SmartLink provides owners of 2010 – 2016 model-year Ford and Lincoln vehicles not equipped with a modem access to a wide array of connectivity features through the new platform
  • Features include remote start, lock and unlock, Wi-Fi access capable of hosting up to eight devices, and vehicle health, security and location alerts
  • Components of Ford SmartLink include a 4G LTE-enabled OBD II plug-in device, as well as a companion App and Web Portal used to activate remote features, receive alerts and schedule service appointments with the owner’s preferred dealer

Millions of current Ford customers stand to benefit from Ford SmartLink, a technology that enables connectivity features normally only available on new modem-equipped vehicles. Using a simple device that plugs into the OBD II port below the steering wheel, Ford SmartLink will give customers who own 2010 – 2016 model year Ford and Lincoln vehicles that are not equipped with a modem access to:

  • Smartphone-based remote start, lock and unlock.
  • 4G Wi-Fi hotspot capable of accepting up to eight devices.
  • Vehicle health and security alerts.
  • Vehicle location assistance.

“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.”

SmartLink can be obtained at Ford and Lincoln dealerships starting this summer.

With more than two years of research and development invested, the Ford SmartLink team of engineers, in collaboration with Delphi Automotive and Verizon Telematics, have ensured the technology will work seamlessly with Ford and Lincoln vehicles.

“From security to performance, we’ve conducted extensive testing and made a number of improvements to ensure Ford SmartLink enhances the customer experience for our owners,” said Raj Nair, executive vice president, Global Product Development, and chief technical officer.

“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.”

Source: Ford

UK Autodrive Completes First Collaborative Autonomous Vehicle Trials

Jaguar Land Rover's vehicle completes an automated overtake during Friday's demonstration.

Jaguar Land Rover’s vehicle completes an automated overtake during Friday’s demonstration.

 

The UK’s first collaborative trials of connected and autonomous vehicle technology were successfully completed on Friday, as UK Autodrive partners Jaguar Land Rover, Ford and Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC) jointly demonstrated a number of future vehicle technologies at HORIBA MIRA’s Proving Ground in Nuneaton.

Friday’s demonstration came at the end of a fortnight trials, in which the three vehicle manufacturers were able to successfully demonstrate the programme’s first two connected car features.

The first demonstration showcased cars that can warn their drivers when another connected car up ahead has braked severely, lowering the risk of rear-end collisions when the driver’s view is obscured, for example, by fog or other vehicles.

The second demonstration showed how connected cars can be sent information from traffic lights, allowing them to reduce the likelihood of meeting red lights – potentially improving future traffic flow and lowering emissions in urban areas.

“There has already been a lot of public focus on self-driving vehicles, but connected car technology may be just as revolutionary,” said Tim Armitage, Arup’s UK Autodrive project director.

“The benefits of having cars that can communicate with each other and their surroundings could be very significant – from increased road safety to improved traffic flow, more efficient parking and better information for drivers.”

Jaguar Land Rover also used Friday’s event to demonstrate a self-driving Range Rover Sport that was able to overtake slower moving vehicles automatically – and also reject overtake requests if it detects another vehicle in the occupant’s “blind spot”.

A Ford test driver receives a brake light warning triggered by the Jaguar ahead of him.

A Ford test driver receives a brake light warning triggered by the Jaguar ahead of him.

The UK Autodrive demonstration was also welcomed the UK’s Roads Innovation Minister, John Hayes, who said: “This technology has the potential to revolutionise travel by making journeys safer and cutting congestion for motorists. I’m proud that the UK is a world leader when it comes to developing connected and automated vehicles, and we are further establishing ourselves as the place to test and invest in this emerging technology.”

 

Further UK Autodrive trials and demonstrations are scheduled to take place at HORIBA MIRA during the spring of next year, before moving out onto closed-off areas of Milton Keynes and Coventry in late 2017. The project will culminate in a series of open road trials and demonstrations to be held in both cities in 2018.

Jaguar Land Rover's vehicle completes an automated overtake during Friday's demonstration.

Jaguar Land Rover’s vehicle completes an automated overtake during Friday’s demonstration.

The driver of the TMETC vehicle receives a speed advisory to help reach a green light.

The driver of the TMETC vehicle receives a speed advisory to help reach a green light.

NEW SMARTDEVICELINK DEVELOPER PROGRAM MAKES IT EASIER TO CREATE IN-CAR APPS FOR GROWING LIST OF GLOBAL CAR MANUFACTURERS

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  • New developer program is latest step for SmartDeviceLink – the agnostic app interface software that aims to set the industry standard for accessing smartphone apps inside the vehicle
  • SmartDeviceLink.com will provide developers with information they need to build smartphone apps compatible with vehicles by any automaker adopting the open-source connectivity software contributed to the industry by Ford
  • Toyota Motor Corp. has already announced adoption of the technology for future vehicles; PSA Groupe, Honda, Subaru and Mazda are exploring adoption

SmartDeviceLink’s new developer program aims to make it easier to build in-car apps for a growing list of global automakers that have adopted or are exploring adoption of the Ford-created smartphone app interface standard.

Working with Toyota Motor Corp. and other leading automakers, Ford created SmartDeviceLink.com – a new program that makes it easier for developers to access the information they need to build and launch their services for millions of cars on the road globally.

“We first set out to develop a way for Ford customers to access and control their favorite smartphone apps using voice commands,” said Don Butler, executive director, Ford Connected Vehicle and Services. “Now, seeing how our innovative software is serving new industry partners is very rewarding. We look forward to innovating together to keep pace with the needs and wants of consumers around the world.”

SmartDeviceLink is the open-source software on which the Ford AppLink platform is built. It provides consumers an easier way to access their favorite smartphone apps via voice command or touch screen interface. Part of Ford SYNC®, AppLink is available on more than 6 million Ford vehicles globally, and is expected to reach 28 million more by 2020.

Ford contributed its AppLink software to the open-source community in 2013. Toyota was the first automaker to adopt the technology, and plans to introduce it on vehicles in the near future. PSA Groupe, Honda, Subaru and Mazda are exploring similar integration. Auto suppliers QNX Software Systems and UIEvolution are adopting the Ford software as well, with plans to integrate it into their products.

Already, Pandora, Spotify, AccuWeather and iHeartRadio feature SmartDeviceLink compatibility, and other popular apps are planning product integrations in the coming months. Adopting and supporting the SmartDeviceLink protocol will provide automakers worldwide with immediate access to a growing ecosystem of compatible smartphone apps to enhance the in-car experience for their own customers.

Industry adoption of SmartDeviceLink offers significant benefits to automakers interested in creating apps for safer in-car use and providing greater control to customers over how their data is utilized.

For developers, industry adoption provides greater scale due to the availability of the technology in vehicles across multiple brands. It enables automakers and suppliers to maintain brand-specific, differentiated entertainment and connectivity systems that broaden choices for customers in terms of how to connect and control their smartphones in the car.

As SmartDeviceLink is both device- and operating system-agnostic, it’s poised to play a key role in the integration of apps in emerging markets where new mobile operating systems may become popular.

“We’re focused on building the best tools to support the growing SmartDeviceLink ecosystem and promote the developer community,” said Justin Dickow, product manager for Livio, the Ford subsidiary that maintains the SmartDeviceLink software. “The SmartDeviceLink developer portal is designed to increase the visibility of the software, improve the documentation process, and help developers source the information they need to create great in-car applications and experiences for consumers.”

SmartDeviceLink.com offers a hub of information for automakers and suppliers interested in the technology. It includes software requirements for developing apps compatible with SmartDeviceLink, along with system requirements needed to adopt the technology. The site will point developers to the online location of the software code necessary for a given project.

Livio continues to manage the open-source project by working with SmartDeviceLink adopters to build the appropriate interface into each unique vehicle environment.

Source: Ford

Ford Accelerate Cloud-Based Software Deployment With Pivotal Investment

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FORD INVESTS IN PIVOTAL TO ACCELERATE CLOUD-BASED SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT; NEW LABS DRIVE FORD SMART MOBILITY INNOVATION

  • Ford invests $182.2 million in Pivotal, a cloud-based software company headquartered in San Francisco, to further strengthen its core software abilities and deliver innovations to customers more quickly
  • The investment is part of Ford’s expansion to be both an auto and a mobility company
  • Already partners, Ford and Pivotal now will expand the use of advanced software development methodologies, analytics tools and a cloud platform throughout Ford’s Product Development and IT teams, including new software labs to support Ford Smart Mobility
  • Ford CIO Marcy Klevorn will join the board of directors at Pivotal

Ford today announces an investment in Pivotal, a cloud-based software platform company headquartered in San Francisco, to further enhance its software development capabilities and deliver innovations to customers more quickly.

The $182.2 million investment in Pivotal aims to help drive Ford’s transition to an auto and a mobility company. Ford is continuing to focus on and invest in its core business – designing, manufacturing, marketing, financing and servicing cars, SUVs, trucks and electrified vehicles. At the same time, the company is aggressively pursuing emerging opportunities through Ford Smart Mobility – its plan to be a leader in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and data and analytics.

“Expanding our business to be both an auto and mobility company requires leading-edge software expertise to deliver outstanding customer experiences,” said Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO. “Our investment in Pivotal will help strengthen our ability to deliver these customer experiences at the speed of Silicon Valley, including continually expanding FordPass® – our digital, physical and personal mobility experience platform.”

Expanding a relationship
Ford recently teamed up with Pivotal to deliver FordPass, an innovative consumer experience platform that launched last month. FordPass will offer new customer services, like remote access to vehicles through a smartphone app, and mobility solutions, such as parking and car sharing. Innovating and iterating quickly, Pivotal and Ford IT engineers are working side-by-side to create new consumer experiences for FordPass members.

Building on this existing relationship, Ford plans to accelerate the incorporation of Pivotal’s advanced software development methodologies and technology across the IT, product development, and research and advanced engineering teams. Ford will put Pivotal’s next-generation cloud platform and analytics capabilities to use on the company’s new mobility projects – such as its on-demand Dynamic Shuttle pilot program.

“Today we are at a major inflection point in global business, and Pivotal is at the fulcrum of that change,” said Rob Mee, Pivotal CEO. “We are collaborating with iconic companies like Ford to help transform their businesses with our unique software development methodology and modern cloud platform and analytics tools. We are thrilled to create a deeper partnership with Ford through this investment as we drive its evolution to becoming both an auto and mobility company – reinventing yet again how the world moves.”

Building more software expertise
Pivotal’s advanced software development methodologies and cloud platform complement Ford’s already strong embedded software capability that supports EcoBoost® engines, the SYNC® 3 connectivity system, driver-assist technologies like active park assist and more.

Software plays a growing role in new vehicles as demonstrated by the all-new F-150 that features more than 150 million lines of code, whereas a typical smartphone operating system has approximately 12 million lines. Engineers are capitalizing on software to deliver precise control over aspects of vehicle performance such as engine and transmission calibration to improve fuel economy and for the connectivity experience by giving customers hands-free access to their smartphones through SYNC 3.

In fact, the very success of EcoBoost engine technology can be attributed to software. Software is the secret sauce to the fuel efficiency EcoBoost delivers because it allows engineers to maximize the use of each drop of fuel at a molecular level. Ford has 275 patents on EcoBoost technology and another 200 pending, with a large majority covering aspects of software controls and calibration.

“Investing in Pivotal builds on our current strengths in software development,” said Marcy Klevorn, Ford vice president and CIO, who will join the board of directors at Pivotal. “We plan to quickly add new state-of-the-art software engineering capabilities across the Ford enterprise.”

In addition, Ford and Pivotal plan to open new software labs in strategic locations in both the United States and Europe. The labs will be staffed with software architects, engineers and user experience experts – all using Pivotal’s advanced software development methodology. Ford’s investment in Pivotal is subject to customary regulatory approval.

Source: Ford

Ford Conducts Autonomous Snow Driving Tests

FORD CONDUCTS INDUSTRY-FIRST SNOW TESTS OF AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES — FURTHER ACCELERATING DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

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  • Ford is the first automaker to test fully autonomous vehicles in winter weather, including snow – a major step toward fully autonomous driving.
  • Ford’s fully autonomous vehicle strategy uses high-resolution 3D mapping and LiDAR for localization to facilitate driving when road markings are not visible
  • Winter weather testing strengthens Ford leadership in autonomous vehicle development, building on recent news of the company’s expansion of its fully autonomous vehicle fleet – now the largest of all automakers

 

Ford is conducting the industry’s first autonomous vehicle tests in snow-covered environments – a major step in the company’s plan to bring fully autonomous vehicles to millions of customers worldwide.

Unlike other major car manufacturers and technology companies, which have tested autonomous vehicle technology only in dry, mostly sunny climates, Ford knows the future of autonomous driving cannot rely on ideal conditions.

“It’s one thing for a car to drive itself in perfect weather,” said Jim McBride, Ford technical leader for autonomous vehicles. “It’s quite another to do so when the car’s sensors can’t see the road because it’s covered in snow. Weather isn’t perfect, and that’s why we’re testing autonomous vehicles in wintry conditions – for the roughly 70 percent of U.S. residents who live in snowy regions.”

Ford’s winter weather testing takes place in Michigan, including at Mcity – a 32-acre, full-scale simulated real-world urban environment at the University of Michigan.

Fully autonomous driving can’t rely on GPS, which is accurate only to several yards – not enough to localize or identify the position of the vehicle. And it’s key that an autonomous vehicle knows its precise location, not just within a city or on a road, but in its actual driving lane – a variation of a few inches makes a big difference.

LiDAR, on the other hand, is much more accurate than GPS – identifying the Fusion Hybrid’s lane location right down to the centimeter. LiDAR emits short pulses of laser light to precisely allow the vehicle to create a real-time, high-definition 3D image of what’s around it.

In ideal weather, LiDAR is the most efficient means of gathering important information and metadata – underlying information about the data itself – from the surrounding environment, sensing nearby objects and using cues to determine the best driving path. But on snow-covered roads or in high-density traffic, LiDAR and other sensors such as cameras can’t see the road. This is also the case when the sensor lens is covered by snow, grime or debris.

Undaunted by this challenge, Ford and University of Michigan technologists began collaborating toward a solution that would allow an autonomous vehicle to see on a snow-covered road.

How snow autonomy works
To navigate snowy roads, Ford autonomous vehicles are equipped with high-resolution 3D maps – complete with information about the road and what’s above it, including road markings, signs, geography, landmarks and topography.

“Maps developed by other companies don’t always work in snow-covered landscapes,” said Ryan Eustice, associate professor at University of Michigan college of engineering. “The maps we created with Ford contain useful information about the 3D environment around the car, allowing the vehicle to localize even with a blanket of snow covering the ground.”

An autonomous vehicle creates the maps while driving the test environment in favorable weather, with technologies automatically annotating features like traffic signs, trees and buildings. When the vehicle can’t see the ground, it detects above-ground landmarks to pinpoint itself on the map, and then subsequently uses the map to drive successfully in inclement conditions.

“The vehicle’s normal safety systems, like electronic stability control and traction control, which often are used on slippery winter roads, work in unison with the autonomous driving software,” said McBride. “We eventually want our autonomous vehicles to detect deteriorating conditions, decide whether it’s safe to keep driving, and if so, for how long.”

A pioneer in autonomy
Winter driving still presents a host of challenges, but Ford’s testing marks an important achievement on the road to autonomous driving. That road goes back roughly a decade, to the first-generation autonomous vehicle from Ford – a LiDAR-equipped F-250 Super Duty.

In 2013, Ford launched its second-generation autonomous vehicle platform, a Fusion Hybrid sedan using more advanced LiDAR sensors. This past summer, Ford transitioned its fully autonomous vehicle development program from the research to advanced engineering phase, the second of three phases before entering production.

Earlier this month, Ford announced it is taking the next step – tripling its fully autonomous development fleet to 30 vehicles being tested on roads and test tracks in California, Arizona and Michigan. This makes the company’s fully autonomous vehicle fleet the largest of all automakers. These third-generation autonomous vehicles continue to be based on a Fusion Hybrid sedan now featuring the first auto-specific LiDAR sensor capable of handling different driving scenarios – thanks in part to its longer range of around 200 meters.

Building on more than a decade of Ford autonomous vehicle research, this advancement is a key element of Ford Smart Mobility – the plan to take Ford to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and data and analytics.

Source: Ford

AT&T 4G LTE to Power Ford SYNC Connect in More Than 10 Million Vehicles in North America by 2020

Ford and AT&T are bringing high-speed connectivity and an even better owner experience to customers this year – with plans to connect more than 10 million customers to Ford SYNC® Connect within the next five years.

SYNC Connect, Ford’s new high-speed connectivity technology, adds levels of convenience to SYNC, the industry-leading in-car entertainment and communications system. Ford is introducing SYNC Connect in the United States and Canada this spring in the new Escape.

“Vehicle owners want the convenience that comes with being connected at home and on the go,” said Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president, Global Product Development and chief technical officer. “With SYNC Connect, we are able to provide features and services that make the car an even more seamless part of our customers’ connected lifestyles.”

With Ford SYNC Connect, Ford vehicle owners can:

  • Remotely lock and unlock doors from virtually anywhere
  • Use the built-in GPS system to locate their parked vehicle on a map
  • Remotely start the vehicle or schedule a start time
  • View vehicle information, including fuel and battery level and tire pressure readings

SYNC Connect plays a key role in Ford’s connectivity strategy as part of Ford Smart Mobility, the plan to take Ford to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and data and analytics.

SYNC Connect debuts this spring on the new Ford Escape. After the initial rollout in North America, SYNC Connect is launching in global markets, adding another 10 million connected vehicles by 2020.

“Connected car services are an important feature to consumers,” said Chris Penrose, senior vice president, Internet of Things, AT&T Mobility. “We’re thrilled to expand our relationship with Ford to deliver an enhanced connected experience to more Ford drivers.”

Ford SYNC

Ford SYNC is the world’s leading in-car entertainment and communications system, with more than 15 million vehicles equipped with the technology on the road worldwide.

Launched in 2007, Ford SYNC was the industry’s first system to widely and most affordably offer voice-activated technology to control smartphones. New-generation SYNC 3 features faster performance, more conversational voice recognition, a smartphone-like touch screen and easier-to-understand graphical interface for a growing number of Ford vehicles in North America.

Building on industry leadership

Ford was the first U.S.-based automaker to build AT&T network service into its cars in 2011 with the introduction of MyFord® Mobile – a smartphone and Web-based connected experience that enables electric vehicle owners to remotely connect their smartphone with the car to manage charging.

AT&T network service has been a standard feature in all Ford plug-in electric vehicles, including Ford Focus Electric, Fusion Energi and C-MAX Energi.

In 2014, Lincoln introduced MyLincoln Mobile powered by AT&T, enabling owners to access their vehicles using their smartphone. The capability allows owners to start, lock, unlock and locate their vehicle, as well as schedule remote starts.

Now, SYNC Connect expands on the relationship between Ford and AT&T, giving more North American customers the ability to remotely access their vehicles.

AT&T connected car leadership

In 2014, AT&T launched two major initiatives to lead innovation in the connected car space. The first was a pioneering connected car innovation center in Atlanta, called AT&T Drive Studio.

It also launched a new global automotive solution and development platform, AT&T Drive.

A telematics leader, AT&T connects vehicles around the globe. In late 2015, AT&T added 1.6 million connected devices; nearly 1 million were connected cars.

Additionally, AT&T was the first major wireless carrier to launch a global SIM platform for cars. The platform lets automotive, consumer and M2M equipment makers use a single carrier to wirelessly connect products across the globe.

– See more at: http://about.att.com/story/att_4g_lte_to_power_ford_sync_connect.html#sthash.WOqlGkC5.dpuf

Source: AT&T

Ford teams up with Marmalade to make new cars affordable for young drivers


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Ford has joined forces with Marmalade, a leading provider of insurance for young drivers, to make the UK’s most popular car more affordable for young drivers and improve their road safety skills. Under the new scheme being launched today, Ford is offering drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 a contribution of up to £1,450 on Marmalade’s New Driver Insurance when they purchase a new Ford Fiesta.

Ford is also offering up to £1,110 towards Marmalade’s insurance if young drivers choose to buy a new Ford Ka. These deals are only available when financed with Ford Options two-year personal contract purchase plan. All cars will be fitted with a black box free of charge as part of Marmalade’s advanced telematics system, which improves safety without imposing curfews on young drivers. 4.3% APR representative Marmalade’s black boxes collect data on accelerating, braking, cornering and speed for each journey and feedback any issues to the driver.

Marmalade also provides ongoing education and support and this approach is dramatically improving young people’s driving skills. On a national basis, 1 in 5 young drivers is involved in an accident**, with Marmalade’s telematics customers this goes down to 1 in 17***. This new initiative is being launched to help more young drivers stay safe on the road and supports Ford’s Driving Skills for Life, an advanced free safety training programme for newly licensed drivers.

Young drivers will benefit from all the safety features of the new Ford Fiesta and Ford Ka, as well as the latest security and low emissions technology. As standard Fiesta is fitted with Ford MyKey, a new technology that allows parents to limit top speed, encourage seatbelt use and control the volume of the integrated sound system.

Mark Ovenden, Chairman and Managing Director, Ford of Britain said: ‘We’re dedicated to helping keep young people safer on the roads. This insurance offer with Marmalade not only makes owning a brand new car more affordable, but also helps offer the latest safety and security features of a brand new vehicle to young drivers’. Crispin Moger, CEO at Marmalade, said: “Ford is the ideal partner for us with its commitment to the safety of young drivers. We are passionate about keeping young drivers safe and thanks to our intelligent black box technology have a strong track record of doing so. This new partnership will provide many more young people with a safe and affordable means to get on the road in great Ford cars.”

Source: Marmalade

 

Ford intelligent speed will stop you getting a speeding ticket ever again

ford

Ford has announced that its new SMax will come with its first Intelligent Speed Limiter system that aims to stop drivers being stung with ticket charges.

This smart limiter is far cleverer than cruise control. The driver sets a limit and then as the car recognises speed signs on the road it changes the limit to suit. This works in conjunction with sat nav data for those cars that have that built-in also.

So how does it limit speed? It won’t ever use the brake but rather limits the amount of fuel being fed to the engine, a bit like taking the foot off the accelerator. Should the car speed up over the limit on a downhill it will emit an alarm so the driver knows to apply the brakes.

The Intelligent Speed Limiter can, of course, be turned off. But it can also be overridden while driving by pressing the accelerator down fully to get a burst of speed if, for whatever reason, you need to break the speed limit.

This sounds like a great option to have if you know you’re a bit too easily tempted to slip over the speed limit, especially when driving in a new area. The local limit will be displayed in the car’s dash so if you missed a sign you can rest easy knowing the car didn’t.

This is the first time Ford’s Adjustable Speed Limiter and Traffic Sign Recognition systems found in the Focus, Mondeo and Kuga have been combined in one car.

The Ford S-Max with Intelligent Speed Limiter is available to order now from £23,310.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3qmtEGGlOo&feature=player_embedded

Source: Pocket-Lint