2000 Ford Explorer Sport Sport Utility 2-door 4.0l on 2040-cars
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Auto blogThu, 12 Dec 2013 14:33:00 EST
Autonomous cars may still be in their infancy, but more and more big names in the auto industry are diving in head first. Nissan is already making strides with a semi-autonomous Leaf EV and General Motors is planning to offer semi-autonomous tech by 2020. And then there's Google, doing its thing with a fleet of Toyota Prius. Now, Ford is showing off its latest automated effort, a driverless Fusion Hybrid.
Partnering with the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) and State Farm Insurance, the project is part of Ford's Blueprint for Mobility, the company's plan for transportation beyond 2025. "The Ford Fusion Hybrid automated vehicle represents a vital step toward our vision for the future of mobility," Chairman Bill Ford said. "We see a future of connected cars that communicate with each other and the world around them to make driving safer, ease traffic congestion and sustain the environment."
The automated Fusion features four LiDAR infrared sensors that scan the road 2.5 million times every second, using a principle similar to the echolocation used by dolphins or bats. Using the infrared light emitted by the LiDAR, the car can draw a picture of everything within 200 feet to create a map of its surroundings. According to Ford, the sensors are able to tell the difference between a paper bag and a small animal from a football field away.
Today, hotrodding has a pretty staid definition. Take one classic American car, add one classic American V8, sprinkle with tire smoke and you pretty much have every hot rod to roll out of a shop in the last 40 years. Mike Borroughs knows it wasn't always this way. Once upon a time, getting your bucket to go faster meant grabbing whatever parts were lazing about the yard, bolting them together with a bit of ingenuity and laughing your way down the quarter mile. It's in that spirit that Burroughs built his 1928 Ford Model A.
Rather than turn to the tired flathead or the common Chevrolet small block, Burroughs plucked a 4.0-liter V8 from a 1995 BMW 7 Series. With 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque, the engine has no trouble shuffling the old A around town. He had to build a custom chassis to get everything to cooperate, but the result is a 1,500-pound heathen that looks built to harass dry lake beds. You can check it out in the video below. Be warned, the soundtrack by Hanni el Khatib may not be safe for work - awesomeness of this caliber rarely is.
Pots and kettles, glass houses and stones - that's a little of what we appear to have going on in the European car market. New reports say that that three European automakers have registered their opposition to a loan deal that PSA/Peugeot-Citroën is working on with the French government. Peugeot's finance arm, Banque PSA Finance, is struggling with its debts and has been downgraded by Moody's to its lowest investment-grade classification, one step above junk. This makes it more expensive for a potential buyer to finance a car through Peugeot. The last thing Peugeot needs is more difficulty selling cars in the tough European market, and the situation will only worsen if the bank's credit worthiness takes another hit.
A deal being worked on would have the French government offer €7 billion ($9B U.S.) in bonds to guarantee the bank's loans, which would give the institution some breathing room to manage its debts and lower its interest rates. Outside of that, a group of banks would provide other, non-guaranteed loans to the bank to further help its position. In exchange for state help, though, the government wants seats on Peugeot's board for worker representatives and a government liaison, along with factory and worker guarantees. The Peugeot family would maintain control of the company.
So what we have is government assistance being provided to a car company's finance arm, akin to the way General Motors' GMAC (now Ally Financial) and Chrysler Financial got help in their time of need. What we also have is Ford and Renault, and Germany's State of Lower Saxony, the second-largest shareholder in Volkswagen, voicing their concern about the proposal, because they say it could create an unfair competitive advantage for Peugeot. Everyone in Europe's down market is fighting for every sale, and if Peugeot gets help to keep its auto loan costs down, it figures to help buyers choose Peugeot or Citroën.