Ford Research Developing Intelligent System to Help Drivers Manage Stressful Situations on the Road

August 29, 2012

Ford Research Developing Intelligent System to Help Drivers Manage Stressful Situations on the Road

With today’s ever-increasing concern about driver distraction, engineers in the Ford Research and Innovation labs are developing ways to help the driver stay focused in busy situations by intelligently managing incoming communications.

“Ford has been a leader in delivering solutions for in-car communications and simplifying the user interface, and now we’re researching ways to use the car’s own intelligence to further help drivers,” says Jeff Greenberg, senior technical leader of Ford Research and Innovation. “Vehicle control inputs, sensors, road conditions and biometric information such as a driver’s pulse and breathing can all be used to create a driver workload estimation that can then help manage certain functions in demanding situations.”

Data from the sensing systems of driver-assist technologies can be used to determine the amount of external demand and workload upon a driver at any given time including traffic and road conditions. In addition, Ford continues its health and wellness research with the development of a biometric seat, seat belt and steering wheel that can monitor the condition of the driver to help add an even more specific estimate of the driver’s state of being.

The driver workload estimator is an algorithm using real-time data from existing sensors such as radar and cameras combined with input from the driver’s use of the throttle, brakes and steering wheel. The result is an intelligent system enabling management of in-vehicle communications based on the assessed workload of the driving situation.

For example, the side-looking radar sensors used for the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®) and the forward-looking camera for the Lane-Keeping System are on watch even when there is no active warning provided to the driver. These signals could indicate there is a significant amount of traffic in the lane that you are merging into while entering a highway.

Combine that knowledge with the fact that the driver has increased throttle pedal pressure to speed up, and the workload estimate could be high enough to determine it isn’t a very good time for an incoming phone call to ring inside the cabin.

The car could intelligently apply the “Do Not Disturb” feature that is already available as part of MyFord® Touch, helping the driver stay focused on the road during the high-demand situation.

Monitoring driver biometrics

“In addition to using existing vehicle data to estimate demand on the driver, we’re researching ways to get an even better understanding of the stress level of the driver,” says Gary Strumolo, manager of vehicle design and infotronics, Ford Research and Innovation. “Biometric or health information of the driver can help us better tailor the experience when behind the wheel.”

Turning new biometric sensors toward the driver will help to create a more complete picture of the driver workload. The research team has built a biometric seating buck to test a number of different sensors and gather data on how drivers respond to a variety of inputs for a driver behavior model.

The experimental system adds several sensors to the steering wheel rim and spokes to get more detailed driver information. Anyone who has used modern exercise equipment like treadmills and stair climbers will be familiar with the metal pads on the rim that can be used to measure the driver’s heart rate.

Infrared sensors on the steering wheel monitor the palms of a driver’s hands as well as his or her face looking for changes in temperature. A downward-looking infrared sensor under the steering column measures the cabin temperature to provide a baseline for comparing changes in the driver’s temperature. The final sensor is embedded in the seat belt to assess the driver’s breathing rate.

With a more complete picture of the driver’s health and wellness blended with knowledge of what is happening outside the vehicle, the car will have the intelligence to dynamically adjust the alerts provided to the driver and filter interruptions. With the driver occupied in heavy traffic, the vehicle control system could increase the warning times for forward collision alerts and automatically filter out phone calls and messages, allowing the driver more time to respond. On the other hand, an alert driver on an open highway could receive incoming calls.

“While these features are still in research, they show significant opportunity for us to leverage data already being captured by the vehicle and apply an intelligent decision-making system to simplify the driving experience,” adds Strumolo.

Fuller Ford offers Lifetime Free Oil Changes on ALL new vehicle purchases – in stock or factory ordered. Additionally, Fuller Ford offers the convenience of onsite Penske Truck Rental. Whether you are coming from Ohio, Kentucky, or Indiana, we are conveniently located right off of I-75, just west of downtown Cincinnati. We are Cincinnati’s ONLY downtown dealer! Check out our entire inventory at www.fullerisford.com.


Wheelchair Accessible Transit Connect

August 20, 2012

This Transit Connect conversion is the perfect vehicle for easy wheelchair accessibility. This van is equipped with an ADA- Compliant Rear Entry Conversion. This conversion includes: • Steel Reinforced Raised Roof and Raised Doors • 56” Door Opening • Fully Automatic Lift (800 lb. capacity) with Interlock • Self-Adjusting Tie-downs and Lap/Shoulder Belts • Wheelchair Flooring • Finished Interior • Safety Kit and Fire Extinguisher These conversions are primarily built on the XLT Premium package since it is equipped with passenger windows. The basics of the Transit Connect’s design have been kept in place. Both sides of the Transit Connect come equipped with sliding doors. The rear double doors fold out to a wide 180 degrees. Optional 255 degree rear door hinges are available also.

Fuller Ford offers Lifetime Free Oil Changes on ALL new vehicle purchases – in stock or factory ordered. Additionally, Fuller Ford offers the convenience of onsite Penske Truck Rental. Whether you are coming from Ohio, Kentucky, or Indiana, we are conveniently located right off of I-75, just west of downtown Cincinnati. We are Cincinnati’s ONLY downtown dealer! Check out our entire inventory at www.fullerisford.com. Call Fuller Ford’s sales staff at (513) 352-5800 for more information on the Transit Connect conversion.


Ford Developing New Technologies to Help Ease Traffic, Parking Stress and Address Future Mobility Challenges

July 26, 2012

Ford Motor Company is researching and developing intelligent, next-generation driving technologies designed to help address traffic jams and other future mobility challenges that come with rapid urbanization and population growth around the world.

Ford’s early prototypes of two such technologies – Traffic Jam Assist and an advanced version of active park assist, evolved to offer hands-free perpendicular parking – are designed to interact with a vehicle’s surroundings, reduce driver stress and help reduce traffic gridlock.

“Developing these technologies is part of the first step in a journey toward a more connected future,” said Paul Mascarenas, Ford chief technical officer and vice president, Research and Innovation. “It’s an undertaking we believe will save time, conserve resources, lower emissions, improve safety and help reduce driver stress.”

Traffic Jam Assist

Traffic Jam Assist is an intelligent driving technology that Ford is developing for the mid-term. It uses radar and camera technology to help a vehicle keep pace with other vehicles in traffic and provide automated steering control to stay in the current lane, reducing driver stress and potentially improving vehicle flow.

“Drivers spend more than 30 percent of their time in heavy traffic,” said Joseph Urhahne, engineer with Ford Research and Innovation. “Traffic Jam Assist could help make traveling through congestion a more relaxing experience and, by keeping pace with the flow of traffic, potentially help relieve road congestion.”

Individual simulation studies have found that where 25 percent of vehicles on a stretch of road are equipped to automatically follow the traffic ahead, journey times can be reduced by 37.5 percent and delays reduced by 20 percent – saving millions of gallons of fuel each year.

Traffic Jam Assist has the potential to follow the traffic ahead while maintaining lane position in environments where there are no pedestrians, cyclists or animals, and where lanes are clearly marked.

Many of the sensing technologies required to deliver Traffic Jam Assist already are available on current Ford models including Focus, Escape and Fusion.

The developing technology would be able to respond to changing traffic situations ahead and communicate any developments to the driver. Traffic Jam Assist would also incorporate features to help ensure the driver remains alert and in contact with the vehicle controls, even when the system is active. It could also be overridden at any time.

Watch Ford Traffic Jam Assist Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTYvkqZ1kfY&feature=player_embedded#!

Perpendicular parking

In the near term, Ford plans to further develop its active park assist technology, a popular feature that allows drivers to parallel park without touching the wheel. Ford is adding perpendicular parking to the parallel parking maneuvers already possible.

The enhanced system would harness the technologies introduced with active park assist. It uses ultrasonic sensors to identify suitable parking spaces, for width rather than length, and then steers the vehicle into them using electric power-assisted steering (EPAS).

Active park assist is activated by pressing a center console button. When a suitable space is detected, the system will advise the driver to stop with an audible and visual warning. The driver will then be told to put the vehicle into reverse gear and operate brakes and clutch, if needed, while the car controls the steering wheel.

Perpendicular parking functionality would use the vehicle’s rear parking distance control sensors to monitor for obstructions not seen by the driver when backing into the space.

Where there is insufficient space to complete the maneuver in one attempt, the system might ask the driver to shift the vehicle into forward and reverse as necessary. Once the vehicle is perfectly parked, the driver gets a finish signal.


Ford Sets Truck Standard Again with New F-150 Limited, Offering Class-Leading Luxury and Capability

July 23, 2012

Ford, the industry’s truck leader, marks the launch of the latest F-150 with a new statement on pickup luxury for 2013 – the F-150 Limited.

“The F-150 Limited signifies the highest levels of design refinement, luxury and technology that we’ve ever offered in a Built Ford Tough pickup truck,” said Ford Group Vice President for Product Development, Raj Nair. “The F-150 Limited reflects a growing trend – more and more customers today have high expectations for luxury and convenience, yet their needs call for a truly capable truck.”

Ford leads the luxury truck segment. In 1999, the company introduced the special-edition 2000 Harley-Davidson F-150. In 2001, the first King Ranch F-150 arrived. The 2009 F-150 took truck luxury to new heights with the Platinum model.

Today, more than 30 percent of F-150 sales are from these high-end trims, with MSRPs that start at more than $35,000 and reach almost $50,000.

Limited meets the still untapped and growing luxury needs of customers and dealers interested in exclusivity and fine craftsmanship who want to differentiate themselves from other high-end options. F-150 Limited surpasses the well-appointed Lariat, western-themed King Ranch and contemporary Platinum.

Refined exterior design

The 2013 Ford F-150 Limited design combines unique 22-inch polished aluminum wheels and center caps with a monochromatic exterior theme available in three handsome hues – Ruby Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Tuxedo Black Metallic and White Platinum Metallic Tri-Coat.

The theme carries through the F-150 Limited exterior design with body-color front and rear bumpers, front bumper valance, sideview mirror caps, wheel-lip molding, upper fascia and grille surround.

Segment-first HID headlamps provide a signature look while delivering two and a half times more light than conventional halogen lamps. Lamp detailing even incorporates F-150 insignias.

Jewel-like chrome highlights the bold three-bar grille, tie-down hooks lining the cargo box, the single tip of the tuned exhaust and the tow hooks on 4×4 variants. “LIMITED” dimensional lettering accents the box sides.

F-150 Limited is available exclusively with a SuperCrew four-door cab configuration.

Inside Limited

Rich red and black full-grain leather-trimmed seats take luxury and style to new heights in trucks – capitalizing on a trend seen in other high-end luxury vehicles. The seats also offer cooling and heating with memory functionality to remember seating preferences for two different drivers. Head restraints are four-way-adjustable and second-row seats are heated, too.

Aluminum trims the center panel and console, lending a sophisticated yet technical touch that complements the piano black accents. Ambient lighting can shift the mood of the F-150 Limited interior, offering five accent colors.

A standard moonroof provides the upward view, while the rear view camera aids maneuvering visibility. Voice-activated navigation offers a bird’s-eye view via a centrally mounted 8-inch LCD screen. A power-sliding rear window features privacy tint and defrost functionality.

Connectivity comes standard with MyFord Touch® powered by SYNC®. Designers have optimized the physical interface for MyFord Touch to accommodate truck users who may be wearing work gloves by providing easy access to climate controls and audio presets on the center stack.

Limited offers a unique gauge cluster design with a 4.2-inch driver-programmable productivity screen that can be customized to monitor various vehicle systems. The new series level also includes a media hub with USB ports, an SD-card reader and RCA video input jacks. A powerful Sony® Audio System is standard.

Built Ford Tough

F-150 Limited brings uncompromised capability for entrepreneurial and lifestyle pursuits with an electronic six-speed automatic transmission with tow/haul mode, trailer tow package, trailer brake controller, Reverse Sensing System, power-deployable running boards and a 110-volt power inverter.

PowerFold side mirrors keep warm and dry in inclement weather and help ensure driver visibility with heated glass, memory position functionality, puddle lamps, turn signals and self-dimming actuation.

F-150 Limited is powered exclusively by Ford’s ground breaking 3.5-liter Ti-VCT EcoBoost® engine, featuring:

•365 horsepower at 5,000 rpm on regular fuel

•Unsurpassed 22 mpg highway for 4×2 model

•Twin independent variable camshaft timing for improved fuel economy

•Best-in-class 420 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,500 rpm vs. premium V8 competitors

•Up to 90 percent peak torque available from 1,700 rpm to 5,000 rpm

To complement that power, sport-tuned dampers are fitted front and rear for confidence-inspiring road dynamics.

F-150 Limited arrives at Fuller Ford this fall.

Fuller Ford offers Lifetime Free Oil Changes on ALL new vehicle purchases – in stock or factory ordered. Additionally, Fuller Ford offers the convenience of onsite Penske Truck Rental. Whether you are coming from Ohio, Kentucky, or Indiana, we are conveniently located right off of I-75, just west of downtown Cincinnati. We are Cincinnati’s ONLY downtown dealer! Check out our entire inventory at www.fullerisford.com.

 

 

 

 


Ford’s 1.0-Liter EcoBoost Wins ‘International Engine of the Year’; Small but Powerful Engine Called ‘Remarkable’

June 30, 2012

Ford Motor Company’s new 1.0-liter EcoBoost® engine – which launched to acclaim this year in the Focus in Europe – today was named 2012 “International Engine of the Year” based on votes cast by 76 journalists from 35 countries around the world.

The small, high-tech three-cylinder engine also hauled in two other awards – “Best New Engine” and “Best Engine Under 1.0-Liter.” The awards were presented by Engine Technology International magazine.

This marks the first time Ford has won International Engine of the Year in the 13-year history of the awards. Moreover, the 1.0-liter EcoBoost garnered the highest score in the history of the awards.

“We set the bar incredibly high when we set out to design this engine,” said Joe Bakaj, Ford vice president, Global Powertrain. “We wanted to deliver eye-popping fuel economy, surprising performance, quietness and refinement – and all from a very small three-cylinder engine.

“The team responded to this seemingly impossible challenge with some really exciting innovation,” Bakaj added. “The result is a game changer for gas engines globally.”

Said Dean Slavnich, chairman of the International Engine of the Year awards and editor of Engine Technology International: “This is a fitting victory for a truly remarkable engine.”

The engine – small enough to fit on a European sheet of A4 paper – was designed at Ford’s technical centers in Dunton, U.K., and Merkenich, Germany. The engine is built in Ford’s plants in Craiova, Romania, and Cologne, Germany.

The 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine uses a low-inertia turbocharger to deliver power quickly when the throttle is opened from low rpm. The turbocharger’s impeller delivers high power at speeds of up to 248,000 rpm.

Further 1.0-liter EcoBoost innovations include:

•An exhaust manifold, cast into the cylinder head, lowers the temperature of exhaust gases to enable the optimum fuel-to-air ratio across a wider rev band

•A unique cast iron block warms the engine more quickly than a conventional aluminum block to cut the amount of “warm-up” energy required by 50 percent, and cut fuel consumption

•Two main engine drive belts are immersed in oil to deliver a quieter, more efficient engine

•Offsetting the engine configuration by deliberately “unbalancing” the flywheel and pulley instead of adding energy-draining balancer shafts

The 1.0-liter EcoBoost debuted this year on the Focus in Europe and will be offered next in C-MAX and B-MAX in Europe later this year. The 1.0-liter EcoBoost will be made available in Ford models in the U.S. and Asia Pacific and Africa next year.

The new Focus 100-PS (98-horsepower) 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine delivers best-in-class fuel efficiency of 4.8 liter/100 km (58.9 mpg)* and CO2 emissions of 109 g/km. The 125-PS (123-horsepower) model returns 5.0 liter/100 km (56.5 mpg) with CO2 emissions of 114 g/km.

In its first full month of sales across Europe, more than 4,700 customers ordered a Focus 1.0-liter EcoBoost, accounting for nearly a quarter of all Focus cars ordered in Ford’s 19 traditional European markets.

Ford of Europe plans to triple annual production of vehicles equipped with efficient EcoBoost gas engines to approximately 480,000 by 2015, from 141,000 in 2011. The company projects that more than 300,000 of those vehicles will be equipped with the 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine.

In determining International Engine of the Year, judges consider driveability, performance, economy, refinement and the successful application of advanced engine technology. The popularity of the 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine with judges saw it receive 28 percent more points than its closest rival and the highest points total of any engine in the history of the competition.

“For a three-cylinder to power a vehicle like the Ford Focus with such ease proves the future is very, very bright for the internal combustion engine,” said Slavnich of Engine Technology International. “Power, response and very good real-world fuel consumption figures are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this engine and what it offers drivers today. Well done, Ford!”

Other judges also praised the 1.0-liter EcoBoost.

“If downsizing is the way ahead, there is currently no better example than this,” said U.K.-based journalist John Simister. “Same power as the naturally aspirated 1.6-liter engine it replaces, and much punchier to drive.”

“With good torque at the very low end, this high-tech three-cylinder turbo gives the driving performance of a small turbo-diesel, but without noise and vibrations,” said Christophe Congrega of French-based L’Automobile Magazine.

Fuller Ford offers Lifetime Free Oil Changes on ALL new vehicle purchases – in stock or factory ordered. Additionally, Fuller Ford offers the convenience of onsite Penske Truck Rental. Whether you are coming from Ohio, Kentucky, or Indiana, we are conveniently located right off of I-75, just west of downtown Cincinnati. We are Cincinnati’s ONLY downtown dealer! Check out our entire inventory at http://www.fullerisford.com.

 


Ford F-150 Special Service Vehicle Package Now Available, Fulfilling Fleet Customer Requests for Adaptability, Efficiency

June 28, 2012

Ford Motor Company, the top-selling commercial truck brand for 27 years, is now offering a new F-150 Special Service Vehicle (SSV) Package aimed at government, municipal and commercial fleets.

“Our fleet customers have been asking us to create this option for F-Series trucks,” said Ford Government Sales Manager Tony Gratson. “We’re confident the current and updated 2013 F-150 equipped with the SSV Package will be of particular interest to our government customers with rugged jobs such as law enforcement, firefighting, and national and state park patrols.”

Ford anticipates commercial buyers across a variety of businesses, like their government fleet counterparts, will appreciate the value in this no-charge package.

F-150 SSV content includes a high-capacity 220-amp alternator to support fleet-class electrical needs.

To meet wide-ranging SSV applications, the package will be available for both SuperCab and SuperCrew configurations, 4×2 and 4×4 models, and with a choice of 5.0-liter V8 or 3.5-liter EcoBoost® engines.

When SSV-equipped, the F-150 interior is optimized for driver comfort, maximum adaptability for aftermarket upfit of task-specific accessories, and second-row seat durability.

The SSV seating package is 40/20/40, with the center 20 percent omitted completely to maximize space for in-cab aftermarket equipment such as law enforcement communications and firearms installations. The central console is omitted also, creating even more space.

Individual driver and first-row passenger seating surfaces are upholstered in easily cleaned cloth for comfort over the long haul.

The three-across, full-width second-row seat is covered completely in rugged, durable vinyl, ideal for law enforcement use or work-crew transport.

Ford places no restrictions on F-150 optional content so that fleets – both government and commercial – have maximum flexibility in ordering exact vehicle specifications. This enables F-150 SSV buyers to specify such options as heavy-duty tires, 4×4 skid plates and interior convenience content.

Along with the choice of 5.0-liter V8 and 3.5-liter EcoBoost engines, SSV Package vehicles – like all Ford F-150 pickups – are equipped with a fuel-saving six-speed automatic transmission.

5.0-liter four-valve dual-overhead-camshaft Ti-VCT V8

•Best-in-class 360 horsepower at 5,500 rpm vs. standard V8 competitors

•21 mpg highway, unsurpassed 15 mpg city (4×2)

•Best-in-class 10,000 pounds maximum trailer tow vs. standard V8 competitors

3.5-liter Ti-VCT EcoBoost

•365 horsepower at 5,000 rpm on regular fuel

•Best-in-class 420 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,500 rpm vs. premium V8 competitors

•Up to 90 percent peak torque available from 1,700 rpm to 5,000 rpm

•Best-in-class 11,300 pounds maximum trailer tow vs. all competitors

•Best-in-class 3,120 pounds payload vs. all competitors

Fuller Ford offers Lifetime Free Oil Changes on ALL new vehicle purchases – in stock or factory ordered. Additionally, Fuller Ford offers the convenience of onsite Penske Truck Rental. Whether you are coming from Ohio, Kentucky, or Indiana, we are conveniently located right off of I-75, just west of downtown Cincinnati. We are Cincinnati’s ONLY downtown dealer! Check out our entire inventory at http://www.fullerisford.com.


Ford Focus ST Features Factory ‘Overboost’ Turbo Engine

June 25, 2012

Pilots might call it the Focus with afterburners. Everyone else will call it really fast.

The new Ford Focus ST features a four-cylinder, direct-injected turbocharged engine with an “overboost” feature that extends peak torque for up to 15 seconds at a time.

The gains extend the peak torque from 3,000 rpm to 4,500 rpm, whereas other EcoBoost® engines would hit peak torque and begin to drop off at these higher engine speeds. This is the first overboosted Ford EcoBoost engine sold in North America.

Ford engineers made sure the overclocked EcoBoost 2.0-liter would have a very robust cooling system. “The turbo itself is specified for sustained, high-output performance, but they’ve programmed the car’s computer to dial in more boost past 3,000 rpm to give it that extra something,” says engineer Lisa Schoder, who is Marketing manager for Focus ST.

“We limit peak turbo boost to maintain a wide margin of safety and durability over the life of the car,” Schoder adds. “But overboost is cool in that it tweaks more acceleration through the turbo for brief periods for performance-hungry drivers.”

Among the more visible options will be the Tangerine Scream metallic color that will be offered exclusively on Focus ST, as well as race-inspired Recaro® seats with matching color accents.

Ford is offering drivers who preorder a Focus ST the GoPro® HD Hero2 Motorsports Edition camera pack upon delivery. Already a staple in the motorsports and action sports communities, GoPro is the ideal camera to capture a spirited drive or Focus ST track day. The first 1,000 presale orders placed between May 1 and Aug. 20 are eligible for the GoPro HD Hero2 camera. The cameras will be sent after vehicle delivery.

Fuller Ford offers Lifetime Free Oil Changes on ALL new vehicle purchases – in stock or factory ordered. Additionally, Fuller Ford offers the convenience of onsite Penske Truck Rental. Whether you are coming from Ohio, Kentucky, or Indiana, we are conveniently located right off of I-75, just west of downtown Cincinnati. We are Cincinnati’s ONLY downtown dealer! Check out our entire inventory at www.fullerisford.com.


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