Previously top of their game in the car industry, US car giants, Ford reported something of a decline in interest over the past few years. With an optimised strategy, some seriously well structured marketing and heavy investment in technology, the brand has recently been invigorated and bounced back, fresher than ever.
Innovation led by nature
Once considered innovators, Ford have risen to the challenge of staying on top of innovation once again. With a dedicated centre in Silicon Valley, they have used biomimicry of the beloved gecko to inform development of the eco-friendly materials used to make the interior. Geckos hold strong to almost twice their bodyweight, making them a good model materials for the car industry. This technique of using nature to inform design was deployed also when Japan’s Shinkansen was developed, based on the speed of a kingfisher.
Tech uses in car
Ford’s unique AWD (All-wheel drive) of the newest Ford models was led by their impressive Ford Performance team, who are on the cutting edge of speed and agility in the automotive industry. There are tech features such as Traffic Sign Recognition and SYNC 2 connectivity which are noticeable in cars and point to a reinvigorated brand that oozes innovation. The EcoBoost Engine Technology and AWD demonstrate Ford’s innovation and companies such as Motorpoint have reported a rise in sales of recent Ford classics, which indicates a revival of Ford makes that Essentially, you can get a lot of the features in these recent and sporty models in cheaper models such as the Zetec S and the ST variations of the Focus.
For fans of David Hasselhoff’s Knightrider in the 80s, it’s exciting to think about the concept of autonomous cars actually driving themselves. Whilst this has not yet happened, Ford have a range of semi autonomous vehicles out on the road already, with no sign of stopping their innovation and production.
With tech leading their connectivity, design and innovation, Ford have embraced technologies such as Vines and other social media to improve their marketing, targeting a younger, millennial audience with a cohesive strategy that uses tech in all its forms.
2017 looks set to be Ford’s ‘year’ with regards to innovation and technology.
While Google has created an operational prototype of their self-driving car, they are not alone. Downside? Google’s cutesy and fun looking vehicle shares a resemblance with a children’s toy. In today’s society where image is everything, this could definitely be a deal breaker for some potential buyers. Even if you customize it with a vinyl wrap, it’s still not going to compare to your coworker’s fancy sports car. However, Google isn’t the only manufacturer looking to make automated driving a reality.
The Cruise RP-1 is a new system created as a major step towards hands-free driving. While it’s not a self-driving car, it definitely lends a hand to those of us with long highway commutes. When activated, the Cruise takes care of maintaining the appropriate speed, remaining within the lane and keeping an appropriate distance from cars around it. The roof-mounted cameras and radar sensors help the internal computer control the car’s steering. It constantly scans to ensure it is still within the lane and away from other vehicles.
Only 50 units will be offered to the public for now, but $10k is how much it will take to snag one of those limited systems. Installation will take place in California, sometime in 2015.
BMW Track Trainer 330i
The BMW Group also has their hands on a self-driving system. Though not as commonly known as Google’s autonomous vehicles, news of BMW’s self-driving car has been around since 2011. Although intended for the race track rather than public roadways, this technology is definitely a step in the right direction for autonomous technology.
More recently, the M235i has shown the ability to safely steer through a variety of driving hazards. While states are still working out laws for self-driving cars, the BMW prototype will have to stick to closed-off tracks. But it definitely brings hopes for a future of autonomous cars hitting the highway.
2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class comes with a boatload of the most technologically advanced options. From cameras, radar, and hundreds of LED lamps, this vehicle is undoubtedly the best luxury sedan on the highway. While all of these features are amazing, the optional driver assistance package on the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class takes the vehicle to new heights. With stereo cameras, radar, ultrasonic systems, 100 microprocessors, and several other technologies, the S-Class is the most technologically advanced premium sedan on the market. Astonishingly, the S-Class is able to navigate itself for approximately 15 seconds by using radars, sensors, and cameras.
Optical Mounted Cameras
The S-Class gets it 3D vision from a pair of optical mounted cameras in the windshield. These cameras are instrumental in helping the vehicle decide whether it should pay attention to the vehicle in front of it or on the lane markings. In addition, these cameras enable the Benz to more effectively recognize and respond to traffic and objects that may quickly dart out in front of it. Lane Keep Assist While most lane keep assists will simply warn you if you begin to veer into an adjacent line, this vehicle takes it one step farther. If there is a vehicle in the lane you are attempting to merge with, the break on the corresponding front wheel is applied gently to assist the vehicle to maneuver back into the right lane.
This technology effectively monitors vehicles for oncoming vehicles veering into your lane or for crossing traffic. If the sensors recognize either of these scenarios, the S-Class alerts you with audio visual signals. When you apply the brakes, the vehicle helps you by adding additional braking pressure. Active Parking Assist While most people are comfortable parking their vehicle into a space, the S-Class makes more difficult parking simple. If your vehicle detects an open space suitable for backing in or for parallel parking, you only have to put the vehicle in reverse and the S-Class will maneuver into the spot for you.