Ford Releases Self-Driving Vehicle Safety Assessment

Autonomous Vehicle Development Leaders - Courtesy Navigant Research

The race is on but favorites and winners have yet to emerge. Click to Enlarge.

Right after the announcement that NHTSA has asked SAE to develop guidelines for the safe development and use of upcoming self-driving vehicles, Ford Motor has released a report that outlines its approach to autonomous vehicle development. (See AutoInformed.com on SAE to Administer Autonomous Testing Program*)

The 44-page document, titled “A Matter of Trust,” details Ford’s “prioritization of safety” during self-driving vehicle development, as well as how the company is working with industry and government, and how it is applying the technology to solve the challenges our cities face. It’s partly technical but looks to be largely a marketing document design to sell self-driving vehicles to potential buyers. Continue reading

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Ford Launches with Alibaba Cloud Autonomic in China

AutoInformed.com on connected vehicles

Photo left to right: Simon Hu, president of Alibaba Cloud; Liu Fei, director of Automobile Division, Alibaba Cloud; Gavin Sherry, CEO and co-founder of Autonomic; Peter Fleet, Ford group vice president.

Autonomic, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ford Smart Mobility LLC, and Alibaba Cloud, the computing arm of Alibaba Group yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to bring to China the Transportation Mobility Cloud (TMC).

Ford boasts – without evidence – that it’s the world’s foremost transportation and mobility solution for connected vehicles developed by Autonomic. It’s certainly the latest – TMC – acronym in the “let’s not speak English” division of the auto industry. Continue reading

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Rain Shortens Fourth Annual Roadkill Nights – Street-legal Drag Racing on Woodward Avenue

AutoInformed.com on Roadkill Nights 2018

Okay so it was Roadkill day...

It’s an old, but now legal tradition. This year’s Roadkill Nights (Powered by Dodge) attracted more than 44,000 enthusiasts from around the country to watch and participate in legal street racing on historic Woodward Avenue.

 A total of 128 street-legal cars were on a specially prepped 1/8-mile drag strip on Woodward Avenue between Rapid Street and South Boulevard to compete in high-powered drag racing for cash prizes. Heavy rains ended the races early, so 16 total finalists split $20,000 in cash prizes. Continue reading

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Ford to Unveil New Model During Woodward Dream Cruise Tomorrow. Mustang NASCAR Cup Edition Coming?

AutoInformed.com

Ford is the first big automaker to have carbon fiber wheels as standard equipment on Shelby GT350R Mustang.

As a sponsor of the 2018 Woodward Dream Cruise, Ford Motor will announce a new production vehicle. The Cruise, aka America’s largest annual celebration of automotive history and culture, is an ideal place to build on the momentum created last week by the 10 millionth Mustang celebration (Milestones – Production of 10 Millionth Mustang, New Camaro Z/28 Priced at $75,000) and the announcement that Mustang will return to NASCAR Cup racing next February (Mustang Running in NASCAR Cup Starting at Daytona 500).

AutoInformed opines that the time is right for a NASCAR edition production Mustang. On display at the Mustang celebration over the rumble of V8 engines, was the strength and depth of fans and owners of America’s original Pony Car. The one that created a stampede of street machines that continues to this day. (Camaro Sales Top Mustang for First Time Since 1991!) Continue reading

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Profits of Trucks – Tahoe, Suburban Premier Plus Models

Chevrolet is expanding the availability of the 6.2L V8 engine within its full-size SUV lineup by introducing the Tahoe and Suburban Premier Plus special editions. Perhaps they should call it the profit packing editions.

“Our customers have shown strong demand for both Tahoe and Suburban with the 6.2L V-8 option,” said Sandor Piszar, director of Chevrolet Trucks Marketing and Advertising. “Thirty-six percent of all Chevy full-size SUV special edition models are now sold with this engine. Premier Plus gives both Suburban and Tahoe customers another option to choose from with several added premium touches.” They start at +$75,000.

Nowhere in the release does Chevrolet note the fuel mileage of the gas gulpers: Suburban and Tahoe both 14 mpg city. Continue reading

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Can New Ferrari CEO Camilleri Meet Marchionne’s Targets?

AutoInformed.com on FerrariUnlike many automakers, Ferrari had a solid second quarter – at €0.84 or $0.98 per share, beating Wall Street analysts’ estimate of €0.80. This was 17% higher than its adjusted EPS of €0.72 in Q2 2017. The Italian Sports car and racing company reaffirmed its 2018 outlook as well. The second-quarter results on small volume sales shames much larger automakers such as FCA, Ford Motor and General Motors. (See AutoInformed.com on Sergio Marchionne Dead at 66, Ferrari 70th Anniversary – 125 S Drives Around Maranello)

During Q2, Ferrari (RACE) reported net revenue of €9.6 million (or, gasp $1.05 billion). Its revenue fell 1.6% from €920 million in the same quarter of 2017. Its shipments to all its major markets rose year-over-year. Globally, it shipped 2,463 cars to customers, +6% over 2,332 units shipped in Q2 2017 and higher than 2,128 units shipped in the first quarter of 2018. Continue reading

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Autonomous Vehicle Market – CAGR of 39.47% 2019-2026

AutoInformed.com on Toyota Autonomous Vehicle 2.0

A lot of industry work is on making the ugly AV sensors smaller or invisible.

According to a study by Allied Market Research the global autonomous vehicle market is expected to be valued at $54.23 billion in 2019, and is projected to reach $556.67 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 39.47% from 2019 to 2026.

Currently, the North America dominates the market, followed by Europe. In 2019, the U.S. is expected to remain dominant in the North America market, while the UK is projected to lead the overall market in Europe. NHTSA says the U.S. lost 37,461 friends and neighbors, colleagues and family members to traffic crashes in 2016. Nearly as many in 2017.

Continue reading

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SAE to Administer Autonomous Testing Program

AutoInformed.com on LIDAR and Autonomous Vehicles

A leap in the dark?

NHTSA has asked SAE International to develop Autonomous vehicle safety testing protocols and guidelines. SAE formally announced this Automated Driving Systems (ADS) Safety Performance Testing Program at the end of last month during CAR’s annual Management Briefing Seminar in Northern Michigan. The initiative establishes a network with SAE, government, industry and researchers to develop and create new standards for AV testing.

The program is long, long overdue with Google and automakers such as Daimler, GM, Ford and FCA – among others – are well underway to turning loose on the untrained public semi-automated and fully automated vehicles. Waymo – the Google driverless car will be in service in Arizona this fall. Apple is expanding its fleet of driverless vehicles in California. Continue reading

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Mustang Running in NASCAR Cup Starting at Daytona 500

AutoInformed.com on NASCAR - Ford Mustang 2019

The Mustang does look somewhat like the street version. What happens on high speed ovals remains to be seen as NASCAR rules are highly flexible and sponsor oriented.

Ford today revealed its all-new Mustang NASCAR Cup race car; the first time Mustang will attempt to compete in NASCAR’s top-level Cup racing series starting at the 2019 Daytona 500 in February. Mustang has been competing full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series since 2011 and has won a championship in all but one season.  Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won back-to-back driver’s championships in 2011 and 2012, while Roger Penske has claimed the owner’s title in four of the last five years.

Mustang’s first official competition was in 1964 when it won – against smart money – the Tour de France Automobile, a 4,000 mile, 10-day rally. Soon after, it began racing legacy in SCCA Trans-Am. IMSA, NHRA, Formula Drift and NASCAR Xfinity – NASCAR’s second tier series followed as Ford wandered in and out and back into racing over the decades. Continue reading

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JMC, Ford Develop Territory in China

AutoInformed.com on JMC Territory

C-Max replacement or early 21st century  JMC Chinese station wagon?

Ford today shared the first images of the new Territory, a mid-size SUV developed together with its joint venture partner, Jiangling Motors Corporation (JMC). The partnership largely benefited from JMC’s insights into Chinese customers’ tastes.

Ford was along for the ride with its engineering, testing and manufacturing knowledge. The move comes as the Mustang is the last passenger car due to be produced by Ford in the U.S. The cross-over market globally is the fastest growing among vehicle segments. The new Ford Territory is part of Ford’s China 2025 plan to launch more than 50 new vehicles in the country by 2025. Continue reading

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Milestones – Production of 10 Millionth Mustang

AutoInformed.com on Ford Mustang

Click to Enlarge.

Ford Motor celebrated the production of its 10 millionth Mustang today. Ford  claims it is America’s best-selling sports car of the last 50 years, and the world’s best-selling sports car three years straight.

The 10 millionth Ford Mustang is a, 460 horsepower 2019 Wimbledon White GT V8 six-speed manual convertible equipped with the latest driver assist technology and built at Ford’s Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan where Mazda once built cars. Continue reading

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Mazda, Saudi Aramco, AIST Researching CO2 Reduction

Mazda Motor Corporation announced today it will begin a joint research project with Saudi Aramco and Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) for making internal combustion engines more efficient and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

AutoInformed.com on CO2

Saudi Aramco will develop a fuel with a refinery process that results in lower carbon dioxide emissions, and Mazda and AIST will research and develop a high-efficiency engine that uses the fuel. The initiative is expected to yield technologies that effectively reduce carbon dioxide emissions on a well-to-wheel basis. Continue reading

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2019 Lexus ES 350 in Production at Georgetown Kentucky

AutoInformed.com on 2019 Lexus ES 350 - Georgetown, Kentucky August 2018.

Lexus began production of the ES in Kentucky in 2015 after investing more than $360 million in a new production facility on the Toyota Kentucky site.

The next generation 2019 Lexus ES 350 is coming off the production line in Georgetown, Kentucky with what’s said to be the all-new Lexus Global Architecture platform. The new platform allows non-union workers to build a car that is a rolling model change cliché’ — longer, lower and wider than before with wheels pushed closer to the corners. (See AutoInformed on Gen Seven Lexus ES Sedan Starts at $40,075)

Workers at the company’s U.S. facility spent more than 150,000 hours training to build the ES model that delivers Lexus claims of a “fundamentally higher level of performance than its predecessors.” That includes sensory training that teaches assemblers, for instance, to feel for an abnormality as minute as a thread of hair. Continue reading

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Global Warming Floods Big Population Coastline Counties

Source US Census

Harris County, Texas, which includes Houston, accounted for a large share of the Gulf of Mexico growth.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2016 population estimates show that coastline counties contain some of the country’s largest centers of population and economic activity. The latest decades have seen costly and damaging hurricanes in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast regions. However, these areas have also continued to experience population growth. Their combined population increased from 51.9 million in 2000 to 59.6 million in 2016.

“With the exception of 2005 to 2006, a year marked by an intense hurricane season that included three of the costliest hurricanes on record (Katrina, Rita and Wilma), the population in Atlantic and Gulf Coast counties grew every year from 2000 to 2016,” says Darryl T. Cohen is a geographer in the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Division. Continue reading

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Repetitive Motion Injuries Cut by Exoskeletal Technology

AutoInformed.com on Exoskeletal Technology

Imagine lifting a bag of flour over your head 4,600 times a day on the job. That’s like what some Ford employees do as they work to build vehicles.

Ford employees in 15 plants performing repetitive overhead tasks now have assistance from a new upper body exoskeletal technology. This is one example of technology used to reduce the physical toll on employees during the vehicle assembly process, lessening the chance of worker fatigue, injury or discomfort.

Since 2005, Ford says incidents in global facilities that resulted in lost time fell 75%. The 2018 incident rate was one of the lowest on record. Ford is introducing wearable technology globally after a successful trial in two U.S. plants. Continue reading

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