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Ford's New Smart Headlights For Tracking Objects At Night 192

An anonymous reader writes: Headlights have been around since the 1880's, and while the source of their light has changed over the years, their functionality has remained virtually the same, until now. Ford has unveiled a new advanced illumination system that should make driving your car at night a lot safer. The new headlight system uses a standard and infrared camera to detect objects near the road. The new technology can locate and track up to eight people or animals up to 12 meters. Ford reports: "Building upon Adaptive Front Lighting System and Traffic Sign Recognition, the system interprets traffic signs to better illuminate hazards that are not in the direction of travel, and uses GPS information for enhanced lighting when encountering bends and dips on a chosen route. Where GPS information is not available, a video camera detects lane markings and predicts the road’s curvature. When next the driver uses the same road again, the headlights adapt to the course of the road automatically. We expect this technology to be available for customers in the near term."

Inside Ford's New Silicon Valley Lab 39

An anonymous reader writes Engadget takes a look at Ford's new Research and Innovation Center located in Palo Alto. The company hopes to use the new facility to speed the development of projects such as autonomous cars and better natural voice recognition. From the article: "This isn't Ford's first dance with the Valley — it actually started its courtship several years ago when it opened its inaugural Silicon Valley office in 2012. The new center, however, is a much bigger effort, with someone new at the helm. That person is Dragos Maciuca, a former Apple engineer with significant experience in consumer electronics, semiconductors, aerospace and automotive tech. Ford also hopes to build a team of 125 professionals under Maciuca, which would make the company one of the largest dedicated automotive research teams in the Valley."

Ford Touts Self-driving Car, Launches Global Mobility Experiments 73

An anonymous reader writes in with news about Ford's latest automobile technology unveiled at CES. "Ford showcased the semi-autonomous vehicles it has on the road at CES and gave attendees a glimpse into fully autonomous vehicles now in development. The carmaker also announced a series of experiments with drivers around the globe to test its vehicle-to-vehicle connectivity, autonomous cars and the use of big data collected from vehicles. The company said a fully autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid research vehicle is undergoing road testing now. The vehicle relies on the same semi-autonomous technology used in Ford vehicles today, while adding four LiDAR (light, radar) sensors to generate a real-time 3D map of the surrounding environment."

Ford Develops a Way To Monitor Police Driving 151

cartechboy writes Sometimes you wonder, "Who's watching the police?" Well, now it appears everyone can as Ford has developed a way to track how the police drive. The automaker has announced a new telematics system for police cars that will keep tabs on the cops while they are driving, tracking their behavior in real time. The system will be able to tell what speed the police offers are traveling, whether they're wearing their seat belts, and where they're driving. The idea behind this system is to improve fleet management with a side benefit of creating a degree of transparency to improve public trust.

Inside Ford's 3D Printing Center Where More Than 20K Parts Are Made Each Year 49

Lucas123 (935744) writes 'Ford has been using 3D printing for rapid prototyping since the mid-1980s, but in recent years it has ramped up its efforts adding new machines and materials. A tour of the facility revealed four different methods of 3D printing being used to prototype parts. For example, Ford uses Nylon 11 and laser sintering to make parts that can be retrofitted to working vehicles and tested over thousands of miles. The center also uses binder jet printing to form molds for metal prototypes by laying down layers of sand that are then epoxied together. Just one of its five 3D prototyping centers churns out more than 20,000 parts a year. Today, Ford could not meet new vehicle deadlines without 3D printing.'

How Ford's Virtual Reality Lab Helps Engineers 49

cartechboy (2660665) writes "Facebook bought OculusVR and the world tilted a little on its axis. But good old Ford has been using VR all along without much fanfare. VR tech effectively gives Ford engineers X-ray vision, so they can — virtually — see through a vehicle's structure, which helps to design mechanical hardware, and spot issues with designs that might interfere with vehicle 'hard points.' Ford's engineers also use VR headsets to check out exterior and interior designs of cars that don't exist in the physical world — at least not yet. Team members walk around virtual cars to preview designs, or "get in" to check if interior layouts will work in the real world."

Tesla, Ford, Amazon Hint At Cloudy Future For Cars 231

Nerval's Lobster writes "The automobile, once the most analog of technologies, is rapidly becoming a smartphone on wheels: Amazon announced Feb. 13 that Ford SYNC Applink-equipped vehicles will include the Amazon Cloud Player, allowing drivers to access their music libraries via voice command or dashboard controls. Ford isn't the only automotive company seeking to integrate cloud computing into the driving experience. Tesla Motors' Model S electric sedan boasts a 17-inch capacitive touch-screen in place of the usual dashboard buttons and dials. And who could forget Google's self-driving car? This isn't a future everybody wants—there are more than a few wannabe Steve McQueens who won't feel complete unless they can stomp on a pedal connected to an internal-combustion engine, flick a physical dashboard knob to the radio station of their choice, and peel out their driveway in a cloud of burning rubber. But as the latest technology migrates into automobiles, it could well be the future we're going to receive."

Inside Virttex, Ford's Driver Distraction Simulator 126

An anonymous reader writes "After my collision the world went blank but I didn't see angels and harps because the highway and the crash situation were imaginary, created inside Ford's Virttex (virtual text track experiment cockpit simulator). Functioning much like a simulator for pilots, this domed virtual world on pitching and sliding stilts has been used to test car cockpits and instruments since 2001. It played a role in the development of recent center stacks such as MyFord Touch. In recent years, Ford used Virttex driver distraction research to learn more about what causes driver inattention and what countermeasures Ford can embed into cars to keep people like me from becoming another Darwinian statistic. It also gives Ford a leg up on the competition — Ford says it's the only automaker in the U.S. with a virtual reality simulator of this magnitude."

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