Ford Acquires Software Developer Livio for In-Dash App Connection

Livio Connect API

Livio Connect API

Ford has been the innovator on connected in-dash infotainment since they first announced their new systems in 2007. So now with all the other car companies coming up fast on in-app systems, Ford needs to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. Today, they have continued their strength with purchasing Livio for an undisclosed sum, but less than 10 million dollars.

Livio is a company which links applications for iOS, Android and Blackberry to your car. Livio takes the devices Programming interfaces and makes sure they can talk to the Ford Sync system. Livio created Sync Applink for just that purpose.

Ford_logoFord is also getting a product that is an industry standard. This would give app creators a single platform to work with, resulting in faster development of higher quality apps. Consumers – in turn – would have a safe way to access digital content on the go.

“With the additional expertise Livio provides us, Ford intends to continue to lead the next generation of in-car connectivity with technology advancements that give consumers more options to access their devices on the go,” said Paul Mascarenas, chief technical officer and vice president, Ford Research and Innovation.

Livio was co-founded by Jake Sigal and Massimo Baldini in 2008. Their motto: More music, less work. based in Metro-Detroit, the company has grown since.

Find out more: Todd and Don interviewed Livio on the CES Live Feed

Ford Sync is Moving Ahead

Ford Sync Developer Program Ford has been busy this year with Sync. It now includes apps like the Wall Street Journal, Aha Radio, Glympse, Amazon mp3 and USA Today. Newspapers like the Wall Street Journal and USA Today are read to you. Ford has open up Sync to developers and is excited about what they will bring to the Eco-system. The Tech Podcast Network is working on their own Ford Sync app.

Ford does it’s updates via a USB stick which they provide to Ford drivers free of charge. According to the Ford representative most users where able to do the update themselves.

The majority of new Fords now being sold have Ford Sync in them. One of the great things about Ford Sync is that it works in a noisy environment. You can use it in a convertible with the top down going down the highway. Ford believes that listening to their customers and developing and maintaining a quality product is key.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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Glympse Safely Lets You Share Your Location While Driving

We have all had this happen at one time or another. You are in your car, driving towards you destination, and are running late. Wouldn’t it be great if you could easily let your co-workers know where you are at, without having to pick up your phone?

Glympse allows you to do exactly that. They have created the first location-sharing app for Ford Motor Company’s SYNC in-car connectivity system. It uses the AppLink interface. Drivers use simple voice commands to activate the app and send a Glympse to their worried co-workers or family members. Ford announced this at CES 2013.

It is very easy to use. Press the SYNC voice button on your steering wheel. Say “Send Glympse”. The app will talk you through the rest. You will need the Glympse app installed on an iOS or Android-based smartphone. Your car will automatically recognizes the app when your phone is Bluetooth-paired or USB-connected. You can send a Glympse to your friend’s email, mobile number, Facebook, or Twitter.

When your friend, or co-worker, gets a Glympse from you, it will show him exactly where you are at. He can monitor your vehicle’s process, and estimated time of arrival, via a real-time dynamic map. After the user-defined time limit expires, the location is no longer updated.

This article written @ GeekNewsCentral.com and if seen anyplace else has been illegally re-posted.

The Ford Flex

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

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 Introduces Live Operator for SYNC Users

Ford yesterday announced a new SYNC Services feature, “Operator Assist”, which lets drivers speak to a real person in order to help with enquiries such as business searches or address entry. It’s currently in beta and is being offered free to registered users of SYNC Services.

Operator Assist is voice activated and the new feature provides customers with the ability to safely connect with a live person who can quickly access information databases to help drivers get where they want to go. No additional hardware or software is needed and the driver (or passenger) simply says, “Operator” if he or she needs assistance with the automated system. After confirming the request, the individual is connected to a live operator for help in finding a business or entering an address. Directions can be sent directly to the vehicle’s navigation system or the business address and phone number can be texted to a mobile phone.

Taking the concept a step further, in the instance when a driver says an address or business that the automated system can’t identify, the driver will be offered the option to connect to a live operator for further assistance. If the user confirms he or she would like to speak with an operator, the system automatically connects the user to the live operator. This avoids the frustration that I think we’ve all encountered when we know where we want to go but the GPS doesn’t recognise the address.

Seventy percent of all SYNC Services calls are for business search and directions“, said David Gersabeck, product manager, SYNC Services. “Our customers asked for additional assistance in situations where their voice request was not understood…Being able to connect with a live person at any time contributes to that [assistance].

GNC-2010-08-26 #605 Hotel Broadband SUCKS!

Hotels in Large part do not care about their guest and over the past couple of years bandwidth has continued to decline at every place I stay it is quite discouraging. Start complaining loudly where ever you stay and hopefully we can reverse the trend. Headed for Honolulu on Saturday ready for a few days at home.

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GNC-2010-07-16 #593 Yes a Orange Shirt?

Can you believe planning is already underway for CES 2011. Crazy as it may sound we have our first meeting on Saturday.. We are really ramping it up this year by adding a 4th component to the content. Lots of tech news tonight and hopefully the oil leak remains sealed until they can get a final fix in. What a mess there will be to clean up now. How are the Audio levels on this show better?

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New Features for Ford Sync Announced at CES 2010

I got the privilege to speak to a Ford Executive about the cool new Ford Sync features that are being introduced to the majority of Ford models. What you are going to be very surprised about is the number of companies that you are very familiar with that are integrating applications you may find in your iPhone directly into the Ford Sync Ecosystem.

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