For Sale By:Private Seller
Exterior Color: Red
Model: Model A
Trim: two Door Sedan
Drive Type: None
Ruskin, Florida, United States
In testing the durability of its upcoming fullsize Transit vans, Ford has begun using autonomous robotic technology to pilot vehicles through the punishing courses of its Michigan Proving Grounds test facility. The autonomous tech allows Ford to run more durability tests in a single day than it could with human drivers, as well as create even more challenging tests that wouldn't be safe to run with a human behind the wheel.
The technology being used was developed by Utah-based Autonomous Solutions, and isn't quite like the totally autonomous vehicles being developed by companies like Google and Audi for use out in the real world. Rather, Ford's autonomous test vehicles follow a pre-programmed course and their position is tracked via GPS and cameras that are being monitored from a central control room. Though the route is predetermined, the robotic control module operates the steering, acceleration and braking to keep the vehicle on course as it drives over broken concrete, cobblestones, metal grates, rough gravel, mud pits and oversize speed bumps.
Scroll down to watch the robotic drivers in action, though be warned that you're headed for disappointment if you expect to see a Centurion behind the wheel (nerd alert!). The setup looks more like a Mythbusters experiment than a scene from Battlestar Galactica.
Sun, 23 Feb 2014 18:01:00 EST
The United States Patent and Trademark Office is a treasure trove for auto enthusiasts, especially those who double as conspiracy theorists.
Why has Toyota applied to trademark "Supra," the name of one of its legendary sports cars, even though it hasn't sold one in the United States in 16 years? Why would General Motors continue to register "Chevelle" long after one of the most famous American muscle cars hit the end of the road? And what could Chrysler possibly do with the rights to "313," the area code for Detroit?
Photos of the 2015 Ford Focus leaked earlier today, but now we're able to tell you more details of the global five-door hatchback. Bucking automaker's troubling trend of ditching manual transmissions in favor of automatics, Ford says the new 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine will come only in a six-speed manual in the US, because, well, American drivers aren't as sophisticated as our European brothers and sisters.
Ford didn't come out and say it that way, but it has found American drivers are more prone to complain about automatics in smaller-engine cars, Raj Nair, Ford's group vice president of global product development, said at a press conference last week. The recent JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study backs up Ford's claims, pointing out that drivers are complaining about rough transmission shifts, engine hesitation and lack of power, particularly in small cars. In Europe and other parts of the world, drivers seem to understand the quirks of these pint-sized engines, Nair said, so they'll have the option to buy an automatic. Ford is working on tuning its dual-clutch transmissions to make them more amenable to American driver's tastes.
Ford will show off the refreshed 2015 Focus at the Geneva Motor Show in early March. The car is due for an update, having been on sale in its current form since 2012. The automaker said it is jamming the car full of new technology - like a USB port that promises to charge your phone in half the time as a regular USB port. Features like Sync and a rear back-up camera will come standard. For a more in-depth look at the car, take a look at the full press release.