Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks


Ford revealing it’s new car via mobile App

Posted by Mike Dell at 10:41 AM on December 16, 2011

Ford is giving you the chance to “test drive” the new 2013 Ford Fusion via an Augmented Reality App for iPad, iPod and Andriod OS. The 2013 Ford Fusion will be revealed at the 2012 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in January and will also be the “Official Car” of the 2012 Consumer Electronic Show (CES).

The App is a game that lets players “unlock” levels that will reveal more details about the new car. Once a player has unlocked all the levels (you can only play one level a day kind of like an advent calendar) you will see an image of the new Fusion and be able to share a picture facebook and twitter. You will also be able to drive any of the versions of the Fusion on the track in the game.

To download the game, go to fordfusionapp.com

Here is a walkthough on how the app works:

I think this is a fun way to let us in on what’s coming up at Ford.

Ford Announces the Green Escape, Focus on the Enviroment

Posted by Alan at 5:26 PM on November 17, 2011

Much of the focus lately on Ford products has surrounded technology, as in Ford Sync.  That changed yesterday, however, with the announcement of the new Ford Green Escape.  That’s green as in environmentally friendly, although you can get it in green the color also.  The emphasis for the Green Escape is in two areas – the components and the noise.

The components that go into building the Green Escape are all made from environmentally friendly materials designed to make it 85% recyclable.  Some of the features include seats that contain 5% soy foam, carpet made from 25 recycled 20 ounce plastic bottles, dash insulation made from 10 pounds of scrap cotton from the clothing industry, and a climate control gasket made from 100% recycled tires.  In addition to the eco-friendly components, there are also features like the EcoBoost engine and a six-speed automatic transmission.

Ford’s engineers also put a lot of thought into noise levels and worked out ways to make the new Green Escape as quiet as possible.  For instance the body structure is 20 percent stiffer to help reduce road noise, the sunroof has a fabric mesh deflector to reduce wind noise when open, and the exterior mirrors are what Ford calls “aero-acoustically optimized” which also helps to reduce wind noise, both with the windows open and shut.

Ford also used special sound treatment methods to audibly insulate the carpet, dash panel, and interior trim panels to further reduce the transmission of noise.  They even enhanced door and windows sealing.

Of course, the Green Escape still contains those great tech features that today’s Ford customers have come to expect.  The Sync computer system helps the driver control everything from music to phone to directions.  The Green Escape also has a great aerodynamic look that fits the small-sized SUV.

 

The Ford Flex

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 12:29 PM on November 17, 2011

The 2013 Ford Flex has the newest technology and sophistication that you now expect from Ford. It is a three row, seven passenger vehicle with a sleek new front end and modern interior. It has a standard 3.5 liter Ti-VCT V6 engine, which delivers 20 more horse power and projected 1 mpg better fuel economy than the standard fuel-efficient 3.5-liter EcoBoast V6 engine. Mark Fields, president of The Americas said “With technologies not found in other full-size utilities, even better fuel economy and a more modern, sophisticated look, we’re offering people even more reasons to choose Flex with the new model.” The Ford Flex not only has the technology that gets you where you are going safely, it also keeps you entertained while doing so. Ford Flex has the first production rear seat inflatable belts to improve safety. The belts are inflated by cold compressed gas which is stored in a cylinder below the seat. The belts inflate within 40 milliseconds in event of a crash. They are designed to reduce neck, head and torso injuries for rear seat passengers. The Ford Flex also has radar enabled adaptive cruise control (ACC) and a collision warning with brake support system. It also has a Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®) with cross traffic alerts. These technologies help drivers to avoid accidents by warning them with both visual and audio alerts. Normally the ACC system acts as regular cruise control, but it is constantly scanning the area in front of the vehicle. It can sense a vehicle up to 150 feet away, if that vehicle slows down as little as 1/4 of a mph, the system will recognize that and slow your vehicle down automatically. When the traffic clears the vehicle automatically resumes the set speed. The driver has the choice of four settings depending on the weather and road condition. Ford Flex also has rain-sensing wipers to increase safety. If an accident does occur the Ford Flex has 911 Assist which is automated emergency calling service that is free for life of the vehicle.

The Ford Flex features the SYNC with new generation of MyFord Touch, making it easier to manage information, control features and adjust settings. The screen has a cleaner, clearer display. The words are larger and easier to read. The functions are clearer and easier to navigate. A user has multiple ways to manage and control the system, including voice commands, menus accessed through the steering wheel control system, touch screen, buttons or knobs, what ever they prefer. The base SYNC package includes hands-free, voice activated calling via a Blue-Tooth -connected mobile phone or USB-connected digital music player.

The SelectShift advance gearbox offers the driver a choice between fully automatic operation and manual control. The option is available through a thumb shift integrated into the steering wheel. The EcoBoost engine are fundamental to Ford’s strategy of providing technologically advanced high output, smaller displacement power train that delivers great fuel economy and uncompromised performance for drivers around the world. In 2013, more than 90 percent of Ford’s North American lineup will be available with EcoBoost engine technology. Fuel economy is increased by up to 4 percent by the use of EPAS (electronic power-assist steering which improves steering performance because it is powered by an electric motor connected to the battery instead of the vehicle’s engine-mounted hydraulic pump steering systems. The battery management system operates the vehicle’s power supply system in a more economical manner to save fuel. The alternator and system voltage can be controlled based on battery condition, vehicle operating state and electrical load status. It provides feedback to the vehicle regarding the batteries condition including temperature.

The Ford Flex has been redesigned outside as well as inside. The new front end rounds out the previously boxy edges. There are three new colors for the 2013 model year, Ruby Red, Deep Impact Blue and Kodiak Brown. The signature Ford blue oval has been removed from the front end which now solely bears the Flex badge.The Ford Flex is built at Oakville Assembly Complex in Ontario, Canada. If you like technology, lots of room and sophistication then take a look at the new 2013 Ford Flex at your local Ford dealership you will love what you see.

Ford Mustang, Boss 302 and Shelby GT500

Posted by Andrew at 6:19 AM on November 17, 2011

Ford logoIf you believe that there’s no substitute for horsepower, then you’ll be rejoicing in 2012 as Ford updates the iconic Mustang muscle car line-up. The new Mustang  will be ready to go in spring but the real power will be later in the year with the return of the Boss 302 and the Shelby GT500, expected to be the most powerful production V8 available.

The 2013 Ford Mustang has a new exterior design with a bigger front grille, re-styled hood and signature LED lighting to give the car a high-tech look. The automatic gearbox now has “SelectShift Automatic” transmission as standard, for drivers who want greater control over the growling 5 liter V6 engine.

2013 Ford Mustang GT

But it’s not just high-tech on the outside, as in an industry-first, the Mustang comes with a 4.2″ LCD car information system with TrackApps; a suite of apps that monitor the car’s performance, including acceleration, cornering-g and braking.

The LCD screen is navigated by a five-way control button to access information relating to fuel economy and vehicle performance. The TrackApps give performance metrics for g-forces, acceleration times for quarter mile and 0-60, and braking times. It also indicates automatic and countdown starts.

Ford TrackApps

“The new Mustang is the perfect example of continuing to build on excellence. It takes the greatness of the 5.0-liter and V6 and pushes the refinement to the next level,” said Dave Pericak, Mustang chief engineer. “The car has been spot-on functionally and now we’re adding more features and technology to further improve the driver’s experience.

The Boss is back, paying homage to a 70′s legend, the Ford Boss 302 Mustang and the car that won the 1970 Trans-Am Championship, driven by Parnelli Jones. Building on this heritage, the new Boss 302 and Boss Laguna Seca will be available in School Bus Yellow, the same colour as the championship-winning car.

2013 Mustang Boss 302

The 2013 Boss 302 comes with 444 HP delivered to the rear wheels via a carbon fiber limited-slip differential – there’s over 380 lb-ft torque available. The orginal Boss 302 had a little under 300 HP under the right foot and in its day, the 302 was the fastest car to lap Ford’s test track.

Compared with 1970 model, the new Boss is totally high-tech, with Ford SYNC as standard. SYNC is a voice-activated in-car connectivity system, with features including
- hands-free control of mobile phones and USB-connected digital music players.
- 911-Assist that automatically calls the emergency services in the event of an accident.
- Vehicle Health Report, an on-demand diagnostic and maintenance system.

The real petrolheads will have to wait until later in 2012 before they can get their hands on the new 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang, which will lay claim to be the most power production V8 in the world, pumping out 650 HP from the 5.8 liter supercharged V8 engine. 600 lb-ft of torque will be on-tap and a 4 second 0-60 time is expected. Whoa!

2013 Ford Shelby GT500

While there may be no substitute for horsepower, a great deal of technology has gone into making sure that the Shelby GT500 goes round the corners quickly as well. Ford’s Special Vehicle Team (SVT) has worked with world leaders in car design to ensure that the Shelby GT500 is fast. SVT-designed Bilstein electronic adjustable dampers can be adjusted from within the car. A Torsen limited-slip differential ensures that as much power as possible gets through the rubber to the road. Brembo braking system aggressively deccelerates the 3,850 lb car with six piston calipers and fade-resistance rotors.

SVT keeps the Shelby GT500 on the cutting edge of technology and takes muscle car performance to new heights,” said Jost Capito, director of Global Performance Vehicles and Motorsport Business Development. “We encapsulated every aspect of performance in this car – whether it’s 0-60, top speed, racetrack or quarter-mile times. Beyond that, the daily driver also will find this car perfectly fits his or her needs.

Nearly every part of the powertrain has been improved for producing the additional horsepower, including a new supercharger, new cross-drilled block and heads, updated camshaft profiles, a new carbon fiber driveshaft and upgraded clutch, transmission and axle. Putting down 650 HP isn’t easy – it’s not as easy as simply putting in a bigger engine.

The 200 mph top speed needed an enhanced aero-package to keep the wheels on the road at high speed and every aspect of the air flow over the vehicle was analysed and harnessed to improve cooling, maximise downforce and minimise drag. As a result, there’s over 33% more downforce at 160 mph compared with the previous model.

The Shelby GT500 is also equipped with an SVT-designed launch control system that allows the GT500′s pilot to adjust the start depending on tire temperature, street surface and other conditions. The launch system is smart enough to interface with both the engine managment system and traction contol to optimise the getaway.

2013 Ford Shelby GT500

For those drivers more confident of their skills or wanting to learn greater control, the electronic systems can be programmed for a range of situations. The Intermediate mode allows drivers to push the car without completely disabling the safety systems, allowing more aggressive driving before traction control and electronic stability control kick in. For real racing, both the systems can be completely disabled requiring maximum driver skill.

We took a completely different approach with this car so drivers can choose their settings instead of a computer making the selection,” said Jamal Hameedi, SVT chief engineer. “Nearly every system the driver interacts with can be tailored to his or her situation including the Bilstein electronic adjustable suspension, launch control, AdvanceTrac and steering assist levels.

Whether it’s the Mustang, the Boss 302 or the Shelby GT500, there is a ton of technology and gadgetry in all of these vehicles. Much of this technology would only have been available to race teams just a few years ago and here it is now in street-legal car. Visit your local Ford dealer for a test and once you’ve stopped fiddling with the gadgets, you can go out for a drive.

Ford Drives Real World Customers from the Gaming World

Posted by Alan at 6:22 PM on November 7, 2011

Today Ford announced their latest advertising initiative, which involves the gaming world.  No, you won’t be able to play Angry Birds in your car via Sync, that would likely prove dangerous.  What Ford is doing is branding their vehicles in video games, and it’s actually not something new.  They have been at this for a while, beginning in 1995 with Sega Rally, but they are now making a more concerted push.

While gamers seem locked into their virtual worlds, they are surprisingly aware of the products that appear in those worlds.  And driving games may be one of the genres where the gamer is most aware of the product.  After all, the gamer in a car race is keenly aware of the car he or she chooses because it may make the difference between winning and losing.

“We’ve realized that gaming is something that many people have grown up with and helps define who they are,” said Brian Mcclary, with Ford’s Social and Emerging Media team. “Ford has gained positive exposure and popularity because we put our products into the right games while giving something back to the gamer.”

Ford is doubling down their efforts now with the release of Forza Motor Sport 4 (released 10/11/11) and Need for Speed The Run (to be released 11/15/11).  They have found that allowing their vehicles to be used in-game gets them more brand recognition and more positive feedback, which translates to more potential customers.  Here are the numbers that they provided from their study.

36% increase in brand rating

28% increase in purchase consideration

39% increase in brand recommendation

45% more gamers agreed Ford Focus is fun to drive

It’s good to see Ford continue to “get it” with their innovation to keep them on top in an ever-changing digital world.  Their partnership with Microsoft for the Sync system and the forward looking advertising with gaming and even with supporting podcasts is something many other old-world companies should take note of.

If you are a gamer, you can check out Forza Motor Sport 4 in the Xbox Marketplace and NSF The Run at the EA Need for Speed website (you can pre-order now).  You can view a trailer of NSF below, but it’s not completely family safe (language).

MyFord Touch Performance Upgrades!

Posted by geeknews at 6:28 AM on November 7, 2011

Ford today is announcing some major upgrades to MyFord Touch, that will improve performance, stability and usability. This upgrade available in early 2012 will be free to all current owners of vehicles that have MyFord Touch. Owners will receive a USB stick with a complete system update to do themselves or they can have the system upgraded on their next Ford service call.

This performance update will make MyFord Touch much easier to use screen navigation update includes a simplified layout, larger fonts, clear labels and 4 corner easy navigation. Ford has taken advice from customers across the country, to include holding owner clinics, and have implemented literally 1000′s of changes with the redesigns of screen interfaces. The screens will now be 2x faster,

The software updates also include better phone pairing and wider phone compatibility. The voice recognition system has went under major overhaul as well with the team from Nuance and Ford increasing and simplifying voice commands. The Navteq map system will be updated bringing enhanced junction views and 3D landmarks for easier navigation. MyFord Touch will remain compatible with iOS and Android devices.

Some MyFord Touch customers have complained about the systems instability, the Ford team spent time talking about improved stability and new error reporting. Ford seems to have taken criticism very seriously and have worked very hard to improve the stability of the MyFord Touch.

Currently MyFord Touch is installed in the following models Edge, Explorer, Lincoln MKS. In 2013 MyFord Touch will be introduced to Taurus, Flex & Escape. This will be welcome news for those of you shopping for new vehicles in the 2013 model year.

Overall I was impressed by the speed increase, the updates to the menu system make sense when compared with the old screens. Ford has made some very smart changes, the team behind MyFord Touch is dedicated to making the user experience while driving a safer / smarter one. The enhancements to the voice commands alone means drivers will be able to do a lot more without ever looking down to the MyFord Touch interface.

Overall great update, and very smart play by Ford to give the update to their customers for Free.

Ford Uses Gestures To Open Liftgate

Posted by Andrew at 1:10 AM on November 2, 2011

Ford Escape SUVFord today announced that the new Ford Escape SUV would come with a powered liftgate that opens and closes when you kick your foot under just below the bumper . Using gesture-based technology similar to games consoles, it ensures that the liftgate doesn’t open accidentally.

Todd’s Noytes: Having actually seen this work at a Ford Demo today. It’s pretty cool and unlike anything I have seen on a car.. You can essentially kick/wave/wiggle your foot just under the bumper from almost any angle and so long as you have the key on your person.

Combined with Ford’s Intelligent Access key-less entry, owners can unlock the car and open the liftgate without even getting the keys out of their pocket or bag. Very handy if your hands are full and need to dump stuff in the back before you drop it all! The ‘gate can be closed again with a similar motion: again handy if you are taking stuff out of the car.

The hands-free power liftgate is yet another innovative Ford technology that makes customers’ lives easier,” said Jason Sprawka, Escape brand manager. “New Escape owners will be able to load their vehicle without ever having to set packages or gear down.

The system is like that used in games consoles and has a pair of sensors to detect the shin and the kicking motion. This stops other motions, say, from an animal, or bumps on rough roads, from operating the liftgate by mistake. It’s the first time the technology has been used in this market segment.

The new Escape will debut at the Los Angeles Motor Show on 16 November and will go on sale in the US in the spring.

I was going to run with a headline about Ford “giving the boot a boot” but didn’t think enough people would get the joke…

Ford and Gogo Add to Inflight Entertainment

Posted by Andrew at 12:33 AM on October 26, 2011

Ford logoTravelling by air can be pretty dull – you’re jammed into a metal tube with nowhere to go even if you could get out of your seat. Inflight entertainment has evolved from one or two screens for the whole cabin to multichannel personal media players in seat headrests, which certainly helps to alleviate the boredom. More recently and largely responding to the requests of business travellers, more and more flights now have Wi-Fi, bringing the Internet to your foldaway table, albeit usually at a price.

Gogo LogoIf you are lucky enough to be on a plane equipped with Gogo‘s inflight Wi-Fi connectivity, Ford has teamed up with Gogo to offer access to Ford’s Mustang Customizer and free access to Facebook for the rest of the flight. The Customizer is a notch above the usual car modelling websites where you can only change the colour of the paint and the interior trim. Starting out with Mustang V6, GT, Boss 302 or Shelby GT500, the Customizer lets you choose the exterior before tweaking under the hood and then placing the car in one of three backgrounds – dragway, cityscape or drive-in restaurant. Apparently there are over 78,791,049,216,000 combinations of vehicle to dream up.

Once you’ve got the car of your dreams, the picture can be downloaded as a background or posted to Facebook and entered into contests to see who has the best car. If you’ve cash to match, you can get a .pdf pricing out the components you’ve chosen.

We are really excited to give Gogo users a chance to customize their very own Mustang while in flight,” added Brian McClary, emerging and social media specialist at Ford. “The Mustang Customizer has proven to be a great way for users to create their own Mustang and provides an interactive and immersive experience.

Definitely of interest to bored petrol heads, small boys and Facebook junkies. The special promotion starts 21 October, 2011 and ends 18 November, 2011

Ford Joins with ZipCar, Adds Focus, Escape to Lineup

Posted by J Powers at 9:22 AM on August 31, 2011
Ford

Ford

This is a great announcement for all you College students that only need a car for a few hours a week. Ford has announced a tw0-year alliance with Zipcar to add Escape and Focus cars to their line-up of over 250 university campuses. The 2012 models will start arriving on campus starting this week.

Zipcar is an alternative to car rental. You join the club and you will get a Zipcar card. Reserve your car for a date and time, then on that day walk up to the car, hold the card near and the car unlocks. Drive the car, return to the same spot and you are good to go.

Zipcar is in several cities across North America and the UK. There is an annual fee (depending on city you live in) upon registration and you would pay per hour, or day, depending on what you need. Gas and insurance is not needed – they take care of that for you.

Zipcar

Zipcar

“Today’s students are thinking differently about driving and transportation than they have in the past,” said Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Company. “This program enables today’s new drivers to experience our latest fuel-efficient vehicles, while helping them reduce their cost of living and help relieve congestion on campus. We’re looking forward to making Ford a staple of their college experience.”

For those who don’t need a car, this seems to be a decent alternative. The cost is low and the car choices are pretty good. Now you can Ford vehicles to the mix, which contain excellent fuel economy and technological advances. So you don’t need to take that old beater to school and fight parking fees and tickets. Just Zipcar and go!

Ford’s EVOS Concept Car

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 3:03 PM on August 30, 2011

Where does Ford think cars will be in the future, that is something that they are answering at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show with the announcement of the EVOS concept car. The idea behind the Ford concept is that your car is set to your preferences. It connects to the cloud and can check the weather, traffic, and your work schedule. It can then send the information it gathered to your in-home system. For example if you have a change of schedule the car can notify and reset your alarm clock or perhaps it can suggest an umbrella if it is going to rain. As you get in your car it is already cooled or heated to your liking. The cars audio system is connected to your home entertainment system through the cloud. The car knows what you were listening to in the house so it continues it in the car. As you drive away the car closes your garage door and sets your home to energy-efficient mode.

The car can then suggest the best route based on your schedule and traffic. The car will adjust brakes, steering and suspension as needed It will adjust the hybrid power train to give the right mixture of electric and gas to maximize efficiency. The car also measures the driver’s heart beat and as it reaches a certain level, the car will automatically turn off unnecessary gauges to aid concentration. At the same time it will also put your phone in do not disturb mode.

If you are driving through an area that is heavily polluted the car can adjust the filtration system or suggest a route that is less polluted. The car will also go into full electric mode when that makes sense. If the car is in full electric mode it will send a signal to the police and any toll booth on the route to advise them that this is an electric car even though it has a tail pipe. If the car is in full electric mood in stop and go traffic it can throttle itself. Meanwhile you can relax as it reads your emails to you. The car can find you a parking spot with an electric vehicle (EV) conductive charging pad and reserve that spot. It then can give you turn by turn directions and guide you right over the EV pad, so that when you leave work your car will be fully charged.

A concept car shows the path where the automaker believes the auto industry is going. It is a future wish list. This wish list will depend on guaranteeing security in the cloud. The building of the external infrastructure such as installing EV conductive charging pads around cities. However I like the concept and hope it becomes a reality in my lifetime. Ford has some great videos up explain the concept car