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CEA President Gary Shapiro announces that Ford will be delivering the opening keynote at CES 2011.  (Source: DailyTech LLC)
DailyTech was live at Ford's press conference to receive the news of the company's upcoming appearance

Ford is the only U.S. auto company to survive the recession without going bankrupt and reaching deep into the U.S. government's pockets.  Ideally positioned, the company is making a strong bid to become the world's top auto maker, armed with its proprietary SYNC technology, EcoBoost, promising new hybrids like the Ford Fusion Hybrid, and upcoming electric vehicles. 

Yesterday, the company held a press conference at the Dearborn Hotel in Dearborn, Michigan to announce some major news -- Ford will be appearing again at CES and Ford CEO Alan Mulally will be delivering the keynote address at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, January 7.  DailyTech attended the Ford press conference and got a chance to listen to Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) President and CEO Gary Shapiro break the news and give his thoughts on Ford.

Mr. Shapiro stated, "Ford understands the importance of technology as a driver of innovative vehicles... Ford's vision of wireless tech has set the bar [high] for the automotive industry and forever changed how consumers interact with their cars."

Ford and CEA officials then held a brief panel to discuss Ford's hottest technology, Ford SYNC and other innovations from the company.  Built on top of a Microsoft OS and with voice recognition technology from Nuance (see AnandTech's special on this company's voice recognition products), Ford believes that the SYNC's latest features like Traffic, Directions and Information Services put its vehicles a step ahead of the competition.

The company also emphasizes that SYNC makes common in-car activities like phone calls or listening to music safer and less distracting.  Ford's Jim Buczkowski, director of Electronics & Electrical Systems Engineering emphasized this point stating, "At Ford, driver distraction is a very important issue, voice technology helps keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.  Technologies like Ford SYNC are key to managing distractions."

Gary Shapiro and the Ford directors agreed that SYNC would allowing a hands-free texting ban without the loss of functionality.  As far as a texting ban, Shapiro states, "Banning texting while driving is a no-brainer."

According to Buczkowski and Doug VanDagens, director of Connected Services at Ford, one SYNC feature that's being worked out is outgoing voice-driven text messaging.  The big holdup is fine-tuning the editing of text messages by voice, they say, but they expect the feature to be delivered sometime in the near future (perhaps a CES announcement?).  We also asked them when the vehicles might be getting automatic updates via cell phones or other wireless links.  Ford responded that they believe that their user downloadable updates, such as their "SYNC My Ride" program, are good enough and that the user can install updates manually via USB.

As to security, DailyTech pointed out that viruses or malware on the iPod or other devices could in theory attack SYNC (causing volume disruption, bad directions, errant speech, etc.), and asked what protections were being put in place to stop this.  Ford did not really comment on a protections within SYNC, but said that vehicle specific functions were firewalled to protect them from the vulnerable consumer interface.  So while malware could, in theory, wreak havoc with SYNC, your base vehicle would be safe.

Another feature Ford touted was their radar and sonar blind spot detection, parking lot Cross Traffic Alert, and warnings to prevent rear end collisions.  All of these features help distracted drivers regain their concentration.  DailyTech asked Ford if they would be overriding driver commands at some point, if drivers executed dangerous moves, such as going into a lane with a car in it, despite the warning. 

Buczkowski and VanDagens said that Ford engineers are considering this, but the issue is to implement it properly.  For now, they say the driver is ultimately responsible for their own safety, though the car does take some steps when fast approaching an obstacle, such as precharging the brakes.



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Ford
By FITCamaro on 9/22/2009 8:55:08 AM , Rating: 5
The Force is getting stronger with this one. As long as they're the only domestic automaker not government owned, I'll consider them in buying a new car.




RE: Ford
By scottbakertemp on 9/22/09, Rating: 0
RE: Ford
By rudolphna on 9/22/2009 10:08:09 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe something with your computer? Opera always gives errors on flash websites like Fords. but I just got on and built a focus with no errors.


RE: Ford
By Machinegear on 9/22/2009 11:20:43 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Ford is the only U.S. auto company to survive the recession without going bankrupt and reaching deep into the U.S. government's pockets.


I take issue with this statement. Ford isn't squeaky clean. They have taken tax payer dollars as well, which is of course not legal nor 'American' (whatever that means now-a-days). Regardless, what Ford did was refuse a bailout all the while accepting a cheap tax payer backed loan for BILLIONS under a nice sounding initiative called the "Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program."

http://www.hybridcars.com/news/8-billion-goes-ford...

Sure, Ford didn't reach into the tax payer's front pocket like GM did. But they sure had their dirty little hands *deep* in the tax payer's back pocket. In summary, no one could recommend buying a Ford on Constituational, moral, etc. principled grounds either; if you find offense with GM, you should also find offense with Ford and hold both in similar regard.


RE: Ford
By Yawgm0th on 9/22/2009 12:02:11 PM , Rating: 5
A government-backed loan has to be repaid. It's no where near the level of GM, which the Federal government now owns a majority stake in. Ford's money in the long run won't cost taxpayers anything and will in fact probably save everyone money. We bought General Motors. You must see the difference. I don't agree with FIT on much, but I do understand how someone could make a principled complaint against GM.

The bigger problem with the automotive bailout was not the principle of the matter, but the fact that GM didn't and doesn't have any means or reasonably paying off its debt and maintain profitability. The government made a bad investment in GM.

In any case, whether you call yourself a capitalist or socialist or something in between, there is something to be said about the government buying a car company. Certain services and markets are vital and not as prone to honest competition Power, electricity, water, gas, telecommunications -- maybe even health insurance -- have inherent problems competing. Certain industries can logically fit the bill for heavy regulation or even government control. You can be for or against that as a principle, but there is at least some logic to it. It's not the same with car manufacturers.

In an industry of dozens of brands and manufacturers with no regional or logistic restrictions on competition (ie only one entity can own the power lines and power plant that power your house, so there is no competition), it doesn't make sense for the government to have a direct stake in the industry.

If you really want to argue the constitutionality of the bailout or the loans, I challenge you to actually go to law school and study with a focus on constitutional law, then come back with a degree and the same opinion.

Hell, just read the constitution in its entirety. It's not the government-shackling document that you want it to be (or, admittedly, that even I want it to be). The government is given quite a bit of power in the constitution.

Of course, if I've misunderstood your constitutional and they are actually retorts to FIT -- which, rereading your post, I think I have -- then I will go ahead and STFU now.


RE: Ford
By Machinegear on 9/22/2009 1:22:02 PM , Rating: 2
I feel sassy today and amused. Let me reply...

quote:
Ford's money in the long run won't cost taxpayers anything and will in fact probably save everyone money.


Since you failed to read or at the very least comprehend the link I originally provided, let's review together.

From the article, "The low-cost loans will carry a discounted interest rate of about 5 percent—enough to save automakers more than $100 million for each $1 billion borrowed. Otherwise, the companies would face interest rates of 15 percent or more."

If Ford can 'save' $100M for every $1B loaned to them, that is another way of saying the tax payers lose $100M for every $1B loaned. Sure, Ford repays the original loan with 5% interest but if the Free Market demands "15 percent or more" the tax payers are getting the short end of the stick.

quote:
The government made a bad investment in GM.


I could easily make the argument government can *only* make bad investments; but I'll continue on topic.

quote:
In an industry of dozens of brands and manufacturers with no regional or logistic restrictions on competition (ie only one entity can own the power lines and power plant that power your house, so there is no competition), it doesn't make sense for the government to have a direct stake in the industry.


Nevermind! I couldn't have said it better myself. Moving on...

quote:
I challenge you to actually go to law school and study with a focus on constitutional law, then come back with a degree and the same opinion.


Done.

quote:
Hell, just read the constitution in its entirety. It's not the government-shackling document that you want it to be (or, admittedly, that even I want it to be). The government is given quite a bit of power in the constitution.


You are completely wrong. Being the US Constitution is a core piece of our country and a crucial instrument to preserve self governance, I am sadden by your ignorance. Even without the benefit of a higher education, any idiot can go to Wikipedia and read the words of Chief Justice Marshall or the author of the Constitution, James Madison, on the topic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enumerated_powers

The only way, *only-way*, to believe the US Federal government has any authority to take tax payer property (money) and give it to companies or anyone, for whatever the reason, is to willfully ignore our US Constitution.

I leave you with a pertinent quote from the guy who wrote the US Constitution. Have a good one...

"If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads;
in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress.... Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America."


RE: Ford
By quiksilvr on 9/22/2009 1:40:12 PM , Rating: 2
I like your sass.


RE: Ford
By Yawgm0th on 9/22/2009 5:31:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Since you failed to read or at the very least comprehend the link I originally provided, let's review together.

From the article, "The low-cost loans will carry a discounted interest rate of about 5 percent—enough to save automakers more than $100 million for each $1 billion borrowed. Otherwise, the companies would face interest rates of 15 percent or more."
I comprehend that pretty clearly. The taxpayers are making money off the loans, just not as much money as a private bank would have made. Our money is not being given to Ford, as it was GM. We lost money on buying GM.

quote:
I could easily make the argument government can *only* make bad investments; but I'll continue on topic.
We'd be here all day. You do agree, regardless of the ideology, that GM was a bad buy?

quote:
Done.

If I thought you were serious, I would question what a Constitutional lawyer was doing on DT. ;) But we're all armchair lawyers here on DT (myself included!), so I'll go with it.

quote:
You are completely wrong. Being the US Constitution is a core piece of our country and a crucial instrument to preserve self governance, I am sadden by your ignorance. Even without the benefit of a higher education, any idiot can go to Wikipedia and read the words of Chief Justice Marshall or the author of the Constitution, James Madison, on the topic.
I'm saddened by your denial. What the Constitution ought to be and was intended to be would be a different conversation entirely. I'm talking about what it is.

As any idiot with any reading comprehension who has gone on the Internet to read the Constitution surely has stumbled upon the "Taxing and Spending Clause" article, which is available from the link you posted, seeing as it is the first enumerated power.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxing_and_Spending_C...

quote:
General Welfare Clause
“ to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; ”

Of all the limitations upon the power to tax and spend, the General Welfare clause appears to have achieved notoriety as the most contentious. The dispute over the clause arises from two distinct disagreements. The first concerns whether the General Welfare Clause grants an independent spending power or is a restriction upon the taxing power. The second disagreement pertains to what exactly is meant by the phrase "general welfare."

The two primary authors of the Federalist Papers essays set forth two separate, conflicting theories:

* the narrower view of James Madison that spending must be at least tangentially tied to one of the other specifically enumerated powers, such as regulating interstate or foreign commerce, or providing for the military, as the General Welfare Clause is not a specific grant of power, but a statement of purpose qualifying the power to tax;[16][17] and
* the broader view of Alexander Hamilton that spending is an enumerated power that Congress may exercise independently to benefit the general welfare, such as to assist national needs in agriculture or education, provided that the spending is general in nature and does not favor any specific section of the country over any other.[18]


The words "general welfare" are responsible for the constitutionality of a pretty significant portion of Congressional legislation and spending, good or bad, for the last 200 years. To deny how loosely interpreted it is is to deny most of American history.

Again, that's how it is. I'm not saying any of us would have done a better job than Madison. But he left lots of ambiguous language and loopholes. Whether viewed from a common law standpoint are syntactic standpoint, the document isn't perfect. Don't get me started on the smudge in the Takings Clause. ;)


RE: Ford
By knutjb on 9/22/2009 12:16:02 PM , Rating: 3
This isn't the dark evil you make it out to be. GM and Chrysler were left out because they got a who lot of money. Nissan (Renault) got 1.6B and Tesla 465M. This has nothing to do with "a back door bail out for Ford". It is, however, a disgusting waste of tax payer money being thrown out there so the left can feel good that they are saving the planet.

As to the legality or constitutionality, go file suit if you think it is illegal. Prove your extreme claim, your article link doesn't prove your slander because they are loans, not gifts or bailouts, therefore must be paid back. Anytime you take money from the Gov you must show them where it went so they can tell you are spending as intended. They have lots of strings attached.

Ford was solvent prior to this program, get a clue.


RE: Ford
By Machinegear on 9/22/09, Rating: 0
RE: Ford
By Manch on 9/28/2009 7:53:47 PM , Rating: 2
Way to cherry pick from an article from 2008 that has no bearing on the Advanced Technology Loan(ATL). Even your own link betrays your point. Ford's Chief Financial Officer states in that article they have enough liquidity.

The purpose of the ATL is to lend at a reduced rate to encourage businesses to develop technology the government wants and thinks will benefit consumers. It's paid back. Granted not as much profit will be made on the loan but the point of the loan is to get companies to invest billions of dollars into R&D hopefully leading to new technologies that not only benefit us but create jobs and therefore taxable revenue.

A bail out isn't. A bailout is like giving a bumm 20$ for food only to have him run to the liquor store. Now he's just drunk and hungry and still begging.

Seriously get a clue.


RE: Ford
By Masospaghetti on 9/23/2009 11:42:07 AM , Rating: 3
The true evil of that advanced technology bailout was giving AMERICAN taxdollars to a JAPANESE company (read: NISSAN) for any reason - even if it's thinly veiled under green technology. It is completely absurd that our government allowed this to happen.


RE: Ford
By Manch on 9/28/2009 3:33:42 PM , Rating: 2
FITMustang? Mulahahahahally!!!


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