Exciting CNET Conversations news: our next Conversation takes place later today at CES 2010. I'll be interviewing Ford CEO Alan Mulally and asking about Ford's new role as the "techcompany" and much more. As always, I want to give you a chance to join the conversation, so please post any questions you'd like me to ask in the comments below.
Biodiesel technology is low on the list of priorities for auto industry research, according to a global survey of 200 senior auto executives conducted by KPMG that was released Thursday.
When asked to rate which were the most important alternative fuel technologies to the auto industry over the next five years, hybrid systems were ranked first followed by battery electric power, fuel cell electric power, and biodiesel, respectively.
Fuel efficiency was ranked as the feature auto executives believed makes the biggest impact on customers' purchasing decisions, while "environmental friendliness" was second followed by safety innovation in third.
A … Read more
LAS VEGAS--Ford CEO Alan Mulally says tech geeks will feel right at home in Ford cars.
Mulally delivered the Thursday morning keynote at the 2010 International CES, where he said "smart technology" such as access to smartphones and fuel efficiency are core to Ford's strategy.
"Green technology and smart innovation are helping us serve our customers and differentiate Ford," Mulally said.
He started his talk noting the surge in usage of online applications like Twitter and Facebook in the past year. Ford's Sync software allows … Read more
LAS VEGAS - Ford built up a good cabin tech lead amongst its competitors when it adopted Sync and Sirius Travel Link in 2008, and we didn't think the company could come up with something new for CES 2010. But boy, were we wrong. Ford radically redesigned its cabin tech interface while at the same time adding new features and completely revamping its navigation systems, branding the whole shebang as MyFord.
Ford vehicles equipped with MyFord will get two 4.2-inch color LCDs, one mounted in the instrument cluster and one in the center of the dashboard. The instrument cluster display shows vehicle information such as engine speed, temperature, and trip data, and the one in the dashboard shows audio, phone, and navigation information.
This system can be upgraded to MyFord Touch, which puts the two 4.2-inch LCDs on either side of the speedometer and adds an 8-inch touch-screen LCD to the center of the dashboard.
The Ford Fusion Hybrid served as a test-bed for this new interface, as it has similar LCDs in the instrument cluster, although they don't show nearly as much information. What both allow is driver customization, letting you choose to view the tachometer as an analog gauge or as a simple bar graph, for example.
In designing the new interface, Ford aimed to flatten the menu structure, making it safer for drivers to choose music or place phone calls without having to dig through multiple screens. MyFord also uses a color scheme so the driver can easily see which function is on display, with orange for the phone, green for navigation, red for music, and blue for climate control. These four major menu areas also get a touch-screen button at each corner of the 8-inch LCD, letting driver or passenger quickly access each one.
Another big change involves switching map storage from hard drive to SD card. Ford had been an early adopter of onboard hard drives, which allowed quicker map access for the navigation system than DVDs could. But moving from hard drive to SD card, with a navigation application and maps from Telenav, will be cheaper to manufacture, make it easier for an owner to update the maps, and be more durable, as a hard drive is more likely to fail in an automotive environment than an SD card. … Read more
LAS VEGAS--Ford Motor is making its vehicles an Internet application platform by giving drivers access to streaming media and other smartphone applications.
During a keynote on Thursday at the Consumer Electronics Show, Ford CEO Alan Mulally plans to show off the latest high-tech touches to the interior of Ford vehicles, including a redesigned driver interface that will let drivers access smartphone applications through the voice-command feature of the Sync in-car software. Cars equipped with the latest Ford interface, called MyFord Touch, will be available in certain models later this year, according to Ford.
The first three available applications are the … Read more
Ford this week announced it is partnering with MIT's AgeLab on a project to identify specific stress-inducing driving situations, monitor a driver's reaction to the situations using biometrics, and evaluate methods to incorporate new stress-reducing features into the next generation of Ford products. The six-month effort will begin in January and will focus on human interaction with a specially equipped 2010 Lincoln MKS.
Ford's goal for the program is to take this a step further by creating the most comfortable driving environment possible so that the driver is always relaxed and calm.
By using the Lincoln MKS, … Read more
Ford Motor just can't seem to get enough lately of high-tech flourishes for the dashboard.
Earlier this month, the automaker unveiled plans to integrate Wi-Fi into its Sync entertainment systems so that drivers can turn their cars into wireless Internet hot spots. On Tuesday, Ford said that starting in 2010, car buyers will be able to get a factory-installed HD Radio receiver with iTunes Tagging capabilities:
"Through the Sync system," Ford said in its press release, "iTunes Tagging will provide Ford customers with the ability to capture a song they hear on the HD Radio receiver … Read more
Ford Motor's hybrid sales are up 67 percent this year, despite an overall industry slump of 11 percent, the company reported.
The carmaker sold 31,000 hybrid cars through November this year--which was higher than its previous sales record set in 2007. The company said Wednesday that it pinned part of the increase on the release of the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Mercury Milan Hybrid. Both vehicles get 41 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, Ford said. The Fusion Hybrid, which was released in March, represents 45 percent of all Ford hybrid sales for 2009. … Read more
Breaking news right at the top of the show as Microsoft loses its appeal and the court rules they have to stop selling infringing copies of Microsoft Word by January 11, 2009. We also welcome the new White House security czar and the Google Yelp drama plays on. We're on break now, but we do have special episodes in the feed. We'll be back on January 4! Have a a great holiday!Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 1131
Microsoft loses Word patent appeal http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5BL3FV20091222… Read more
Ford cars are about to become true mobile hot spots.
The carmaker announced Monday the next generation of its Sync system designed to let Ford owners plug a USB modem directly into a car's built-in Wi-Fi, creating broadband Internet access to all passengers. Those in the car can jump online through any Wi-Fi-enabled device, from smartphone to laptop.
Ford said that this factory-installed capability will be available next year on certain Sync-equipped cars and that no extra hardware or subscriptions will be needed outside of an existing broadband modem, which the customer supplies. Ford's Wi-Fi system will include … Read more