Ford Launches SYNC2, New Tech, New OZ Investments

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Ford has showcased its latest car safety technologies during its “Innovation for Millions” event including upgraded SYNC2 in-car technology system and a major upgrade to its Ford Immersive Vehicle Environment labs in Melbourne.

From new sensor-based driver safety technologies through to a major investment in upgrading its Australian labs, Ford has announced it is taking the relationship between a driver and vehicle to a whole new level. 
New is SYNC2, Ford’s in-car technology system that brings a new level of voice control to drivers through an 8-inch colour touchscreen. 
It boasts an array of updated and new features, including enhanced voice recognition capabilities designed to help drivers stay connected with keeping their eyes on the road. 
Ford’s SYNC page has several examples showing how the driver-friendly SYNC system works, but an example given is simply telling SYNC that “I’m hungry”, with the system then searching for nearby restaurants which it will happily navigate you to. 
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These capabilities and more were demonstrated at Ford’s “Innovation for Millions” event held at its Australian HQ which showcases “advanced technologies and affordable, class-leading safety features”. 

The Innovation for Millions event features demonstrations at Ford’s Australian Proving Ground, where Ford’s engineers put its vehicles through their paces “to ensure they meet the highest quality standards, as well as interactive events in the newly upgraded Ford immersive Virtual Environment (FiVE) lab in Melbourne.”
The FiVE lab allows engineers and designers to collaborate in real time with other Ford teams worldwide. The new lab is big enough for a virtual walk-around of Ford’s largest vehicles, giving designers and engineers the chance to experience in-development cars much like a consumer would on the showroom floor.
At the Innovations for Millions event, Ford demonstrated the world’s first Rear Inflatable Seatbelt was on show, alongside Ford’s Blind Spot Information System, Cross Traffic Alert, and Active City Stop features for safer driving. 
The Company also says “Innovative driver awareness tools like the Drink Driving Suit [were] demonstrated, as well as cutting-edge features such as Active Park Assist, EcoBoost engines, multi-material lightweight vehicle components and the latest generation of Ford’s in-car connectivity system, SYNC, are also on show.”
The “Drink Driving Suit” is special tool Ford developed to demonstrate how much more difficult driving becomes after drinking alcohol.
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The headpiece of Ford’s Drink Driving Suit

It consists of tunnel-vision glasses; ear muffs, wrist and ankle weights; and padding to elbows, neck, and knees, designed to make the “Drink Driving Suit” demonstrate how even simple tasks when inebriated – such as walking a straight line – are much harder. 

Ford says “The suit is used in safety and educational programs supported by Ford around the world to help educate consumers about the importance of remaining fully aware while driving. The suit is a reminder of what can happen when visibility, hearing, coordination and balance are impaired.”
Another new technology is “EcoBoost” engine technology, which Ford says is a “key driver in Ford’s holistic approach to sustainability, which emphasises weight reduction and small but powerful engines to deliver fuel-efficient vehicles that are fun to drive.”
EcoBoost engines are at “the core of Ford’s sustainability plan to make affordable, fuel-efficient cars, trucks and SUVs that customers want and value”, boasting “better fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions compared to larger displacement engines, without sacrificing performance or driving experience.”
Phil Fabien, Global Engine Engineering, Ford said: “In the first half of the year, EcoBoost sales have skyrocketed 120 per cent in Asia Pacific. When our customers get into an EcoBoost vehicle, they’re saving money on fuel and making an impact on fuel consumption and emissions. The popularity of these vehicles shows how hard Ford is working to bring affordable and proven sustainable technologies to Asia Pacific.”
It’s all said to build on “Henry Ford’s vision of opening the highways to all mankind”, with Ford’s demonstration of advanced technologies making its vehicles “smarter, safer and more sustainable than ever before.”
Jim Holland, Engineering Director, Ford Asia Pacific said: “It’s an exciting time for Ford in Asia Pacific as we continue to offer innovative vehicles, technologies and services that our customers want and value. Our vision is not only to create the smartest, safest driving experience, but also to make those innovations available to all.”
The Innovation for Millions event featured demonstrations at Ford’s Australian Proving Ground, where engineers put Ford vehicles through their paces to ensure they meet the highest quality standards, as well as interactive events in the newly upgraded Ford immersive Virtual Environment (FiVE) lab in Melbourne.
The FiVE lab allows engineers and designers to collaborate in real time with other Ford teams worldwide. The new lab is big enough for a virtual walk-around of Ford’s largest vehicles, giving designers and engineers the chance to experience in-development cars much like a consumer would on the showroom floor.
Ford says it has virtual-reality facilities in the United States, Germany, China, India, Brazil, Mexico and Australia, and that these centres are “part of Ford’s virtual engineering processes that utilise immersive environments and advanced computer-aided engineering to accurately model everything from the whole vehicle to minute details before building prototypes.”
This virtual modelling impacts everything from aerodynamics to safety and aspects of the human-machine interface, and allows designers and engineers to optimise systems and components far earlier in the development process – resulting in prototype vehicles that are much closer to a finished product.
A prototype Lightweight Concept vehicle was also recently unveiled, which Ford says “decreased the overall weight of a Ford Mondeo/Fusion by nearly 25 percent in order to explore future weight-reduction solutions for high-volume production vehicles. Cutting-edge materials were incorporated into every aspect of the vehicle – including powertrain, chassis, body, battery and the interior – resulting in a new high-water mark for advanced materials in one vehicle.”
Ford’s Jim Holland said: “From virtual-reality engineering and manufacturing to Ford’s driver-assist features and sustainable technologies like EcoBoost, it’s a bold and exciting time for everyone at Ford and for our customers. We look forward to continuing to share what comes next. 
“At Innovation for Millions we’re not only demonstrating our latest, cutting-edge technologies, but also setting out a bold vision for the future”, Mr Holland concluded. 
 

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