Ford today is announcing some major upgrades to MyFord Touch, that will improve performance, stability and usability. This upgrade available in early 2012 will be free to all current owners of vehicles that have MyFord Touch. Owners will receive a USB stick with a complete system update to do themselves or they can have the system upgraded on their next Ford service call.
This performance update will make MyFord Touch much easier to use screen navigation update includes a simplified layout, larger fonts, clear labels and 4 corner easy navigation. Ford has taken advice from customers across the country, to include holding owner clinics, and have implemented literally 1000′s of changes with the redesigns of screen interfaces. The screens will now be 2x faster,
The software updates also include better phone pairing and wider phone compatibility. The voice recognition system has went under major overhaul as well with the team from Nuance and Ford increasing and simplifying voice commands. The Navteq map system will be updated bringing enhanced junction views and 3D landmarks for easier navigation. MyFord Touch will remain compatible with iOS and Android devices.
Some MyFord Touch customers have complained about the systems instability, the Ford team spent time talking about improved stability and new error reporting. Ford seems to have taken criticism very seriously and have worked very hard to improve the stability of the MyFord Touch.
Currently MyFord Touch is installed in the following models Edge, Explorer, Lincoln MKS. In 2013 MyFord Touch will be introduced to Taurus, Flex & Escape. This will be welcome news for those of you shopping for new vehicles in the 2013 model year.
Overall I was impressed by the speed increase, the updates to the menu system make sense when compared with the old screens. Ford has made some very smart changes, the team behind MyFord Touch is dedicated to making the user experience while driving a safer / smarter one. The enhancements to the voice commands alone means drivers will be able to do a lot more without ever looking down to the MyFord Touch interface.
Overall great update, and very smart play by Ford to give the update to their customers for Free.
Ford today announced that the new Ford Escape SUV would come with a powered liftgate that opens and closes when you kick your foot under just below the bumper . Using gesture-based technology similar to games consoles, it ensures that the liftgate doesn’t open accidentally.
Todd’s Noytes: Having actually seen this work at a Ford Demo today. It’s pretty cool and unlike anything I have seen on a car.. You can essentially kick/wave/wiggle your foot just under the bumper from almost any angle and so long as you have the key on your person.
Combined with Ford’s Intelligent Access key-less entry, owners can unlock the car and open the liftgate without even getting the keys out of their pocket or bag. Very handy if your hands are full and need to dump stuff in the back before you drop it all! The ‘gate can be closed again with a similar motion: again handy if you are taking stuff out of the car.
“The hands-free power liftgate is yet another innovative Ford technology that makes customers’ lives easier,” said Jason Sprawka, Escape brand manager. “New Escape owners will be able to load their vehicle without ever having to set packages or gear down.”
The system is like that used in games consoles and has a pair of sensors to detect the shin and the kicking motion. This stops other motions, say, from an animal, or bumps on rough roads, from operating the liftgate by mistake. It’s the first time the technology has been used in this market segment.
The new Escape will debut at the Los Angeles Motor Show on 16 November and will go on sale in the US in the spring.
I was going to run with a headline about Ford “giving the boot a boot” but didn’t think enough people would get the joke…
Travelling by air can be pretty dull – you’re jammed into a metal tube with nowhere to go even if you could get out of your seat. Inflight entertainment has evolved from one or two screens for the whole cabin to multichannel personal media players in seat headrests, which certainly helps to alleviate the boredom. More recently and largely responding to the requests of business travellers, more and more flights now have Wi-Fi, bringing the Internet to your foldaway table, albeit usually at a price.
If you are lucky enough to be on a plane equipped with Gogo‘s inflight Wi-Fi connectivity, Ford has teamed up with Gogo to offer access to Ford’s Mustang Customizer and free access to Facebook for the rest of the flight. The Customizer is a notch above the usual car modelling websites where you can only change the colour of the paint and the interior trim. Starting out with Mustang V6, GT, Boss 302 or Shelby GT500, the Customizer lets you choose the exterior before tweaking under the hood and then placing the car in one of three backgrounds – dragway, cityscape or drive-in restaurant. Apparently there are over 78,791,049,216,000 combinations of vehicle to dream up.
Once you’ve got the car of your dreams, the picture can be downloaded as a background or posted to Facebook and entered into contests to see who has the best car. If you’ve cash to match, you can get a .pdf pricing out the components you’ve chosen.
“We are really excited to give Gogo users a chance to customize their very own Mustang while in flight,” added Brian McClary, emerging and social media specialist at Ford. “The Mustang Customizer has proven to be a great way for users to create their own Mustang and provides an interactive and immersive experience.”
Definitely of interest to bored petrol heads, small boys and Facebook junkies. The special promotion starts 21 October, 2011 and ends 18 November, 2011
This is a great announcement for all you College students that only need a car for a few hours a week. Ford has announced a tw0-year alliance with Zipcar to add Escape and Focus cars to their line-up of over 250 university campuses. The 2012 models will start arriving on campus starting this week.
Zipcar is an alternative to car rental. You join the club and you will get a Zipcar card. Reserve your car for a date and time, then on that day walk up to the car, hold the card near and the car unlocks. Drive the car, return to the same spot and you are good to go.
Zipcar is in several cities across North America and the UK. There is an annual fee (depending on city you live in) upon registration and you would pay per hour, or day, depending on what you need. Gas and insurance is not needed – they take care of that for you.
“Today’s students are thinking differently about driving and transportation than they have in the past,” said Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Company. “This program enables today’s new drivers to experience our latest fuel-efficient vehicles, while helping them reduce their cost of living and help relieve congestion on campus. We’re looking forward to making Ford a staple of their college experience.”
For those who don’t need a car, this seems to be a decent alternative. The cost is low and the car choices are pretty good. Now you can Ford vehicles to the mix, which contain excellent fuel economy and technological advances. So you don’t need to take that old beater to school and fight parking fees and tickets. Just Zipcar and go!
Posted by KL Tech Muse at 3:03 PM on August 30, 2011
Where does Ford think cars will be in the future, that is something that they are answering at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show with the announcement of the EVOS concept car. The idea behind the Ford concept is that your car is set to your preferences. It connects to the cloud and can check the weather, traffic, and your work schedule. It can then send the information it gathered to your in-home system. For example if you have a change of schedule the car can notify and reset your alarm clock or perhaps it can suggest an umbrella if it is going to rain. As you get in your car it is already cooled or heated to your liking. The cars audio system is connected to your home entertainment system through the cloud. The car knows what you were listening to in the house so it continues it in the car. As you drive away the car closes your garage door and sets your home to energy-efficient mode.
The car can then suggest the best route based on your schedule and traffic. The car will adjust brakes, steering and suspension as needed It will adjust the hybrid power train to give the right mixture of electric and gas to maximize efficiency. The car also measures the driver’s heart beat and as it reaches a certain level, the car will automatically turn off unnecessary gauges to aid concentration. At the same time it will also put your phone in do not disturb mode.
If you are driving through an area that is heavily polluted the car can adjust the filtration system or suggest a route that is less polluted. The car will also go into full electric mode when that makes sense. If the car is in full electric mode it will send a signal to the police and any toll booth on the route to advise them that this is an electric car even though it has a tail pipe. If the car is in full electric mood in stop and go traffic it can throttle itself. Meanwhile you can relax as it reads your emails to you. The car can find you a parking spot with an electric vehicle (EV) conductive charging pad and reserve that spot. It then can give you turn by turn directions and guide you right over the EV pad, so that when you leave work your car will be fully charged.
A concept car shows the path where the automaker believes the auto industry is going. It is a future wish list. This wish list will depend on guaranteeing security in the cloud. The building of the external infrastructure such as installing EV conductive charging pads around cities. However I like the concept and hope it becomes a reality in my lifetime. Ford has some great videos up explain the concept car
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].“
Today, through both Cnet and Engadget, we got a look ahead at Ford’s vision of the future of the automobile. The “V2V” monicker refers to “vehicle to vehicle” and it’s a new way for cars to communicate with each other while driving down the road.
A video, produced by Ford, has surfaced that gives a nice walk-through of the technology involved. As you can probably guess, before the rep explains it, it is really just basic cell phone technology being used here. The cars can let other vehicles in the area know of slowing or stopping traffic, lane changes, stop sign and red-light runners and a host of other things.
The video is demonstrated with both animation and real, live footage in the video below. You will also get a brief, but passable, explanation from some of Ford’s representatives about what it is capable of and how it works.
Like much of car-automation technology, a lot of this is probably years in the future. But, we are starting to see a lot more similar technology creeping into today’s showroom models. Enough to say I am hopeful that this is closer than we may think.