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SYNC 3 drives into SA

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The latest generation of Ford’s communications and entertainment system is set to make its South African debut this year when the high-tech new Sync 3 is launched on the Ford Kuga, Mustang, Ranger and Everest.

Ford Sync already enables drivers of 15-million vehicles worldwide to voice-activate essential in-car features, greatly improving ease of access to numerous phone and multimedia functions. The system has also made a significant contribution to driving safety, enabling drivers to remain focused on the road while accessing the vast range of available communication and multimedia features.

“Sync3 brings to life even more innovative new ways of staying connected on the move,” says Tracey Delate, General Manager, Marketing – Ford Motor Company Sub-Saharan Africa Region. “Designed to complement modern smartphones, with an intuitive touch screen and an exciting array of new features, Sync3 understands even more conversational speech commands, is significantly faster and offers a higher resolution interface that is simpler, and easier to read and use than the outgoing Sync2 system.”

For the third-generation system, Ford has drawn on more than 22 000 comments and insights gained from research clinics and surveys to ensure the new version is the most customer-centric designed system to date, and is a convincing successor to Sync 2. Sync 1 will remain a core entry-level audio system for selected Ford models and will continue to offer Bluetooth with Voice Activation and extensive mobile and multimedia device integration.

Simplifying the user experience by putting the audio and phone options customers use most at their fingertips, Sync 3 has been further improved through increased processing power and a reduction in the number of steps required for a command.

With pinch-to-zoom and swipe gestures, Sync 3 provides customers with a high definition experience of the eight-inch touch screen that is similar to smartphone screens, thus making it easier and more intuitive to use.

Smartphone integration has been stepped up with several fantastic new features, including Apple CarPlay, which allows iPhone users to make phone calls, access music, send and receive text messages, and get directions optimised for traffic conditions via voice control while the drivers’ eyes stay focused on the road. The system is also compatible with Siri Eyes Free which allows for easy access to Siri with iPhones connected via Bluetooth.

Android users will be able to activate Android Auto, which makes the platform’s apps and services such as Google Search, Google Maps and Google Play Music accessible in a safe and seamless manner through Sync3.

Additionally, using Ford’s built-in voice control, the driver can access all the suites of services available through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto simply by using voice commands

To keep the system up to date, periodic over-the-air software updates for Sync3 can be downloaded via Wi-Fi, once it is set up on a trusted wireless network.

“The fantastic new features and functionality launched with Sync3 makes it one of the most comprehensive and easy to use in-car communication and entertainment systems of its kind,” Delate says.

“Some of the licenses for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are still being finalised for official release in the collective Middle East and Africa region, and therefore will be introduced as they become available in market.”

There will be a progressive roll-out of Sync 3 for the 2017 model year across the relevant nameplates – either as a standard feature on selected derivatives, or as an option.

For the first time in South Africa, navigation will also be offered with Sync3 from early 2017, either as standard equipment, or as an optional extra, depending on applicable model range and derivative. This feature will be introduced in phases across selected Ford models in 2017.

Notably for South African customers, the language choices for Sync 3 navigation comprise English, Zulu and Afrikaans.

Cars

Why sports cars make us feel good

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Forget romance, fine dining or an epic boxset binge – new preliminary research reveals that driving a sports car on a daily basis is among the best ways to boost your sense of wellbeing and emotional fulfilment.

The study measured “buzz moments” – peak thrills that play a vital role in our overall wellness – as volunteers cheered on their favourite football team, watched a gripping Game of Thrones episode, enjoyed a passionate kiss with a loved one or took an intense salsa dancing class. Only the occasional highs of riding a roller coaster ranked higher than the daily buzz of a commute in a sports car.

Working with neuroscientists and designers, Ford brought the research to life with the unique Ford Performance Buzz Car: a customised Ford Focus RS incorporating wearable and artificial intelligence technology to animate the driver’s emotions in real time across the car’s exterior. 

Watch the video here https://youtu.be/AFpt6jziFsU

“A roller coaster may be good for a quick thrill, but it’s not great for getting you to work every day,” said Dr Harry Witchel, Discipline Leader in Physiology. “This study shows how driving a performance car does much more than get you from A to B – it could be a valuable part of your daily wellbeing routine.”

Study participants who sat behind the wheel of a Ford Focus RS, Focus ST or Mustang experienced an average of 2.1 high-intensity buzz moments during a typical commute; this compared with an average of 3 buzz moments while riding on a roller coaster, 1.7 while on a shopping trip, 1.5 each while watching a Game of Thrones episode or a football match, and none at all while salsa dancing, fine dining or sharing a passionate kiss. 

For the research, Ford took one Focus RS and worked with Designworks to create the Buzz Car:

From concept, design and installation to software development and programming, the Buzz Car took 1,400 man-hours to create. Each “buzz moment” experienced by the driver – analysed using a real-time “emotional AI” system developed by leading empathic technology firm Sensum – produces a dazzling animation across almost 200,000 LED lights integrated into the car. The Buzz Car also features:

  • High-performance Zotac VR GO gaming PC
  • 110 x 500-lumen daylight-bright light strips
  • 82 display panels with 188,416 individually addressable LEDs

Driver state research

Researchers at the Ford Research and Innovation Center in Aachen, Germany are already looking into how vehicles can better understand and respond to drivers’ emotions. As part of the EUfunded ADAS&ME project, Ford experts are investigating how in-car systems may one day be aware of our emotions – as well as levels of stress, distraction and fatigue – providing prompts and warnings, and could even take control of the car in emergency situations.

“We think driving should be an enjoyable, emotional experience,” said Dr Marcel Mathissen, research scientist at Ford of Europe. “The driver-state research Ford and its partners are undertaking is helping to lead us towards safer roads and – importantly – healthier driving.”

Activity Buzz Moments *
Roller Coaster 3
Driving 2.1
Shopping 1.7
Game of Thrones 1.5
Football Game 1.5
Kissing 0
Salsa Dancing 0
Dining 0

* Average number of high-intensity buzz moments per participant

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Car that sees round corners

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Jaguar Land Rover is leading a £4.7 million (approximately R79 million) project to develop self-driving cars that can ‘see’ at blind junctions and through obstacles.

Britain’s biggest carmaker is leading a project called AutopleX to combine connected, automated and live mapping tech so more information is provided earlier to the self-driving car. This enables automated cars to communicate with all road users and obstacles where there is no direct view, effectively helping them see, so they can safely merge lanes and negotiate complex roundabouts autonomously.

Chris Holmes, Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Research Manager at Jaguar Land Rover said: “This project is crucial in order to bring self-driving cars to our customers in the near future. Together with our AutopleX partners, we will merge our connected and autonomous research to empower our self-driving vehicles to operate safely in the most challenging, real-world traffic situations. This project will ensure we deliver the most sophisticated and capable automated driving technology.”

Jaguar Land Rover is developing fully- and semi-automated vehicle technologies, offering customers a choice of an engaged or automated drive, while maintaining an enjoyable and safe driving experience. The company’s vision is to make the self-driving car viable in the widest range of real-life, on- and off-road driving environments and weather.

AutopleX will develop the technology through simulation and public road testing both on motorways and in urban environments in the West Midlands. Highways England, INRIX, Ricardo, Siemens, Transport for West Midlands and WMG at the University of Warwick join the AutopleX consortium, which was announced as part of Innovate UK’s third round of Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Funding in March 2018.

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