New pony car a technology thoroughbred
Ford’s iconic pony car took center stage at the 2014 International CES as the all-new 2015 Mustang was designated as the “official car” of the world’s largest handson showcase of emerging innovation.
It was used to showcase Ford’s best of breed technology. “Mustang has always been more than just a car, as it reminds us of the freedom and joy that comes from traveling the open road,” said Jim Farley, executive vice president, Ford global marketing, sales and service and Lincoln. “It is very exciting to see an iconic American car like Mustang equipped with state-of-the-art technology,” added Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CEA.
“Automobiles are rapidly becoming mobile technology platforms as consumers demand connectivity along with efficiency and performance in their vehicles. With features like upgraded SYNC, Ford automobiles are built with cutting-edge technology that can make driving safer and more enjoyable. We are overjoyed to see Ford return to our show and to have the new Mustang as Official Car of the 2014 CES.” It was the sixth consecutive year that Ford had taken center stage at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Ford earlier announced it would expand its industry-leading SYNC AppLink™ system to 3.4 million more vehicles currently on the road.
Since its launch in 2010, Ford has migrated SYNC AppLink to more products and customers around the world, enabling vehicle owners to access and control Smartphone apps including TuneIn, NPR and iHeartRadio via voice command. More than a million vehicles equipped with SYNC AppLink are on the road today, and another 3.4 million vehicles – model year 2010 and newer – will be eligible to download AppLink later this year. “Our goal with AppLink has always been to let drivers take advantage of the information, news and entertainment apps they value most,” said Doug VanDagens, Ford global director of connected services. “The new version of AppLink gives developers even more tools to help deliver a seamless app experience.” Currently, SYNC AppLink allows users to control over 60 Smartphone mobile apps – on both iOS and Android platforms - using the car’s voice commands.
Ford is the first automaker to offer an open developer program, www.developer.ford.com. “SYNC launched a sort of connectivity arms race in the industry,” says Farley. “The opportunity is much bigger than just in-car technology – it’s now about connecting the vehicle to a larger ecosystem leveraging ‘the Internet of things.’ We are creating a seamless and immersive experience for customers that begins with their first visit to our digital sites and continues throughout their ownership experience.”
This is captured in the 2015 Mustang. Rather than having to settle for a one-size-fits-all technology solution, Mustang drivers will have the ability to tune their individual car to their driving style and road conditions. With available Selectable Drive Modes, the driver can quickly adjust steering effort, throttle response, shift control and stability control settings by toggling between normal, snow-wet, sport and track modes. Standard technology features include: Ford SYNC®, MyFord Touch®, AppLink™, Track Apps, and MyKey®, which enables parents to limit top speed and audio volume.
The 2015 Ford Mustang goes on sale in North America during the fall of 2014. Ford also used CES to launch the C-MAX Solar Energi Concept, a firstof- its-kind sun-powered vehicle with the potential to deliver the best of what a plugin hybrid offers – without depending on the electric grid for charging. It is described as a “plugless plugin” by Donna Bell, Manager, EV Infrastructure & Smart Grid Technology. “We wanted to do more than just powering a fan or running the radio. We wanted to make it useful for the driver to get from Point A to Point B,” she says.
The C-Max Concept, which was built in collaboration with SunPower and the Georgia Institute of Technology, harnesses the power of the sun by using a special concentrator that acts like a magnifying glass, to direct sunlight onto solar panels on the vehicle roof. The C-MAX Solar Energi Concept vehicle collects 8 kWh of energy from the sun per day, which translates into 21 miles of 100% renewable driving per day. It achieves EPA-estimated consumption of 108 MPGe city and 92 MPGe highway, for a combined 100 MPGe.
“Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept shines a new light on electric transportation and renewable energy,” said Mike Tinskey, Ford global director of vehicle electrification and infrastructure. “As an innovation leader, we want to further the public dialog about the art of the possible in moving the world toward a cleaner future.” The vehicle also reinforces MyEnergi Lifestyle, a concept revealed by Ford and several partners at 2013 CES. MyEnergi Lifestyle uses math, science and computer modeling to help homeowners understand how they can take advantage of energy-efficient home appliances, solar power systems and plug-in hybrid vehicles to significantly reduce monthly expenses while also reducing their overall carbon footprint.
“The first year of the MyEnergi Lifestyle program showed us homeowners can save money and reduce their carbon footprint by adopting certain energy usage habits,” said Tinskey. “We’re excited about advancing the program further to include battery storage for even smarter energy consumption.” Ford expects to sell 85,000 hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles for 2013 – the first full year its six new electrified vehicles were available in dealer showrooms. Ford believes that technology will help the ageing population stay mobile for longer. Speaking at the CES Digital Health & Silvers Summit Gary Strumolo, Manager, Vehicle Design and Infotronics, R&A at Ford Motor Company, said “seniors are interested in technology provided it is easily accessible and gives them the information they want and need”.
Driver assistance systems, such as ultrasonic back-up sensors and rear-view cameras can, for example, help the elderly to drive more safely by enabling them to see behind them without having to physically turn around – a difficult maneuver for the elderly. Sensors in vehicles can also help diabetes-afflicted drivers by monitoring their glucose levels, or track outside conditions for those suffering from allergies or asthma. On the subject of autonomous driving, Strumolo said “all automakers look at it as the logical end point of the technologies they have been putting into cars for years.” One of the many issues which are still in the way of fully autonomous driving is that drivers might be too distracted with other things to take control of their vehicles when needed. “We have to find the right balance so that a driver can enjoy the benefits of automated driving but still be engaged enough to take control of the wheel if necessary.”
Bringing their visual/mental attention back to the road, as well as their hands and feet in the proper positions, in sufficient time to assess the situation and take corrective action is a real challenge. Another is establishing liability for a potential accident involving an autonomous car – is it the driver or the OEM which supplied the system? New Ford technology showcased at CES is expected to be rolled out into the market over the next year.