David Hayter Reprises His Role as Solid Snake… In a Ford Advert

Ever since it was announced that Kiefer Sutherland would be taking over as Snake for Metal Gear Solid V, fans have been hoping that David Hayter would be allowed to return to the role. Now fans wishes have been granted, but perhaps not in the way the hoped or expected.

Hayter certainly seems to be getting back into playing the role of Solid Snake since MGS V, with just days ago, the fan project The Fan Legacy: Metal Gear Solid, revealing that Hayter would be recording original voice lines as Snake for the VR experience. In this new advert released by Ford, we see Solid Snake and Colonel Campbell discussing the merits of the Ford Focus SE, with the Colonel telling Snake that it is “the perfect vehicle to drive around Shadow Moses Island.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPnTa1UJPEI

A second advert in the set sees a rehash of the Psycho Mantis conversation from Metal Gear Solid where instead of the player’s memory card, Mantis reads Snakes thoughts about his desire for a Ford Fusion Titanium.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4LUasFly0c

How fans will react to these returns of Snake is unknown, as while some may appreciate the nostalgia brought on by the MGS-style codec calls, it is likely that many see it as a shameful misuse of their beloved franchise by Konami. As for Hayter, he has been promoting the adverts himself on Twitter, declaring that “Snake is back.” Kojima has yet to release any kind of comment regarding the videos, though considering his departure from Konami and MGS being his franchise, it is easy to assume he wouldn’t be happy.

New Ford Subsidiary to Focus on Emerging Mobility Services

Today, Ford revealed that they would be operating a new subsidiary, Ford Smart Mobility, that would be focused on developing autonomous cars, car connectivity, transportation and maintain an investment in emerging mobility services. This new branch of Ford will be overseen by Ford board member and Former CEO of Steelcase Jim Hackett, with the company working towards the goal of being “both an auto and a mobility company.”

This won’t affect the core function of Ford as a mainstream automobile manufacturer, however, this new subsidiary will allow them to focus their efforts and resources on new opportunities without compromising their core brand. Currently, these opportunities include technologies featuring connectivity, autonomous vehicles, customer experience and data analytics, with Ford Smart Mobility being initially tasked with the advancement of the SYNC infotainment system as well as GoPark and GoDrive parking and car-sharing services and the transportation hub, FordPass.

More crucially, Ford Smart Mobility will be responsible for the development of Ford’s autonomous vehicle development program in the states of Arizona, California, and Michigan. With Ford aiming to have the largest fleet of self-driving cars before the end of the year, this new subsidiary will have its work cut out.

With Fort Smart Mobility having more objectives in mind that just development of self-driving cars, it will be interesting to see what will come out of the subsidiary. With any luck, cars of the future could be a whole lot more exciting for the user than simply self-driving.

Want to Watch a Movie in Your Self-Driving Car? Ford Wants You To!

We all know that Ford is one of many companies that are looking at self-driving cars. They’ve even tested their cars in the snow, a weather most of us don’t like driving in at the best of times. What do you do when you don’t have to drive? That half hour trip to and from work every day, or the four-hour drive to see family. Ford has an answer and that’s to keep you entertained with a movie in your self-driving car.

Ford has recently filed for, and obtained, a patent that relates to “autonomous vehicle entertainment system”.  What this actually means if you will be able to put your feet up as a screen comes down over the front of the car, letting you enjoy as the projector between your seats brings you the latest in entertainment.

That’s right, you will be able to enjoy a cinema experience while being driven around by your car. In flight movies built into your car doesn’t sound all that bad does it?

Personally, I like the idea of having something to do in your car, but would you feel safe staring at a screen while you are driven down the motorway at high speed with no one watching out for the broken car or driver that crashes into your favourite automated car.

Ford Test Autonomous Car in Snow

Autonomous cars have come a long way in recent times, with some even being considered safer than human drivers. But now Ford have decided to try out their autonomous car in snow, which can even cause trouble for experienced human drivers.

Ford’s self-driving car makes use of a technology they have termed “snowtonomy”, which integrates high definition maps to allow the car to fill in the gaps that its sensors cannot see due to the adverse weather.

The car employs the standard array of laser-imagine LIDAR sensors that it is equipped with in order to build the most accurate picture of the current location as possible. It then matches this 3D image against the stored maps in order to maintain the car’s position on the road. According to Ford, this system is accurate enough for the car to be able to stay in lane, even when road markings are obscured by snow.

The testing ground for this technology has been Mcity, an artificial city created by the University of Michigan, specifically for testing autonomous cars. This has allowed Ford to gain a lot of experience with self-driving cars in adverse conditions such as rain and snow.

Technologies like Ford’s “snowtonomy” really show that companies out there are bringing their self-driving systems to the next level. Driving in straight lines in perfect conditions is hardly a challenge for today’s self-driving technology, but for autonomous cars to truly displace the human driver, they will have to be able to adapt to all conditions, be it visibility impairing or a lack of grip.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vShi-xx6ze8

Woman Arrested After Her Car Reported Her to Police

 

A woman was reported to police for an alleged hit-and-run by her own car. 57-year-old Cathy Bernstein of Port St. Lucie, Florida, crashed into the back of a of a minivan and fled the scene, only for her Ford Focus (same model as pictured above) to auto-dial 911 to report the accident, abc7 reports.

Police followed up the matter by calling Bernstein to enquire about the incident. Bernstein asserted, “Mam, there’s no problem. Everything was fine.”

The police dispatcher pressed her further, saying, “OK, but your car called in saying you’d been involved in an accident. It doesn’t do that for no reason. Did you leave the scene of an accident?”

Bernstein replied, “No, I would never do that.”

The victim, Anna Preston, was rushed to the same hospital as her alleged assailant following the accident. “I saw [Bernstein] in the hospital,” Preston said. “I just went by, and I’m assuming she had a worse night than I did.”

Following medical treatment, Bernstein was taken into custody by police.

From 2018, all motor vehicles in the European Union will be required to have on-board automatic safety features such as those responsible for shopping Bernstein to the police. The EU claims the technology could save up to 2,500 lives a year.

Image courtesy of Gaithersburg.

This Ford Designed Xbox One Controller is Seriously Cool!

A Ford designed Xbox One controller you say? What kind of madness is this! OK, first things first, this isn’t a real controller, it’s a marketing stunt, but I’m already twitching at my wallet hoping that it becomes a reality, because this may be the coolest Xbox One controller yet!

The mock-up of the new controller is based around the new Elite controller, which features the flappy paddles on the back. However, this controller has been tweaked even further to make it the ultimate racing controller, short of investing in a full set of wheel and pedals, of course.

The left analog stick has been tweaked with a curved head, giving it wings on the left and right edges to mimic the Ford GT wheel shape, making is more suitable for left and right adjustments, since up and down bare little relevance in steering a car; this should give your thumb excellent grip for those tight corners. If that wasn’t enough, the rear triggers have been replaced with racing pedals, which in themselves look freaking awesome. The housing of the controller is made from carbon fiber, making it super strong and lightweight, and the rear panel has been made transparent like the engine cover on the new Ford GT.

  • Xbox Elite Wireless Controller is a one-off design exercise from the Xbox Hardware team inspired by the Ford GT and the release of Forza Motorsport 6 which features the Ford GT on the cover.
  • Carbon Fiber case parts create rigidity and lightness in the controller, the same way it is used on the GT chassis.
  • Custom metallic paint job matched to Ford’s specifications.
  • Left thumbstick shape inspired by the GT steering wheel and angled towards the player for a more ergonomic experience. A horizontal movement limiter also ensures efficiency and accuracy in steering.
  • Custom paddles inspired by the steering column paddles shifters on the GT. Program them on your Xbox One to shift up, down and even to engage the clutch.
  • See through battery door and custom battery pack inspired by the engine compartment and EcoBoost V6 engine.
  • Cutaway brake and accelerator triggers reveal the impulse motors that give Forza Motorsport 6 its realistic feel.

Now all we need is for them to actually make it, although given the Elite controller is already pretty darn expensive, I would expect this carbon fiber equipped beast to be a bit of a wallet buster.

Ford S-Max Speed Limiter Will Police Your Driving

Ford is to implement an on-board system in its new car that will prevent drivers from exceeding a road’s speed limit. The Intelligent Speed Limiter, to be included with the new Ford S-Max, launching in Europe this Summer, uses a windshield-mounted camera to detect road signs. When the vehicle enters, say, a 30mph zone, the limiter will ensure that the vehicle cannot exceed this speed, applying automated braking, if necessary, and then restricting the amount of fuel supplied to the engine.

Ford claims that the system will help reduce road traffic accidents and speeding tickets. That reasoning certainly makes sense, and drivers who don’t want their speed controlled either won’t buy an S-Max or will disable the function, but the implementation of the technology sets a worrying precedent, especially if regulators decide it should be adopted by all vehicles compulsorily.

Source: Engadget

Ford Reveals Two New Prototype E-Bikes

Ford recently revealed two prototype e-bikes at the Mobile World Congress that aim to make travelling around cities a bit safer. The two e-bikes are called MoDe:Me and MoDe:Pro and have a 200-watt electric motor, along with a 9-amp per hour battery. They are said to have a top speed of up to 25 km/h.

The bikes feature a rear-facing sensor that alerts the rider if a car is approaching quickly from behind by making the handlebars vibrate. Also, if you have an app open, it will also show the warning on the display.

There are also lights on the side of the handlebars and read of the bikes to warn a car’s driver of a possible impact with the bike, suggesting him or her to slow down in order to avoid it.

Both bikes are said to connect to Ford’s prototype app named MoDe:Link, currently compatible only with the iPhone 6. The app helps the riders plan their route and helps with direction by giving feedback through the handlebars, telling the rider when to turn. Blinking indicators are said to also automatically activate in order to inform other drivers of a turn being made by the rider.

Due to the bikes being foldable, the app can take the user to a bus or train stop, should it be quicker than any alternative. It is said to also display the cost of any public transport fees to the destination.

Other key features within the app include identifying bike-friendly roads and generate warning feedbacks regarding other potential hazards. To be noted is that the DoMe:Pro is designed for couriers, having the ability to be folded and stored in the back of a van, while the DoMe:Me is designed for regular commuters.

Thank you TheNextWeb for providing us with this information

Ford Working With Intel on Bringing Face and Gesture Recognition Technology to Cars

Automaker Ford and chip maker Intel apparently have started looking into how people can interact with their gadgets even more. With smart watches and virtual reality already on the way, the two manufacturers apparently are looking into making their own innovative technology, but for automobiles.

“Project Mobii” is the name of Intel and Ford’s little project, having it stand for Mobile Interior Imaging. The project itself is not that “small” either, having a team formed from ethnographers, anthropologists and engineers working to achieve a “more personalized and seamless interaction between driver and vehicle.”

What all of this means is that Intel and Ford are experimenting on new ways people might interact with cars in the future. Cameras could be connected and allow owners to check the car remotely via an app, or gestures might be able to control a car’s features, such as a sunroof or windows, or even have the car implemented with facial recognition software in order to identify the driver or give certain permissions to family members.

Though the project is being worked on, this does not mean we will see sci-fi cars on the streets anytime soon. Intel and Ford have apparently made it clear that the project is currently just for research and exploration purposes for now.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Endgadget

Pirate Websites Generate $227 Million A Year From Ad Revenue

Reports show that pirate websites make a fortune out of advertising. The Digital Citizens Alliance is said to have released a detailed report emphasising how much piracy websites are making in ad revenue.

The report is named “Good Money Gone Bad: Digital Thieves and the Hijacking of the Online Ad Business” and states that pirate websites having TV shows, music, movies, etc. as content made a staggering $227 million in annual ad revenue in 2013.

The number of ad positions, page views and estimates of the different ad-rates were used to generate the report’s statistics and the websites were divided into three sizes based on the number of unique visitors per month, which are ‘Small’ ( lower than 1 million), ‘Medium’ (between 1 and 5 million) and ‘Large’ (over 5 million). It is also said that sampled websites are the ones for which Google received 25 or more DMCA takedown requests during the third quarter of 2013.

The statistics inside the report were taken from 596 websites, out of which 30 were the largest sites and the top torrent sites which made profits margins of around $6 million a year. Also, profit margins up to 94.1 percent were made by torrent sites, taking up less than 1/4 of the total sample and half of the total ad revenue.

The reports states that a large part of the total ad revenue comes from premium brands like McDonalds, Ford, Dell, Amazon, and others, brands that are not aware of this themselves, but the DCA states that this could damage their reputation.

Thank you Tech Spot for providing us with this information

Oculus Rift To Aid Ford In Designing New Generation Of Cars

Ford automobile maker apparently is using the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset to aid in development of new cars, including vehicle color, materials, design, and possible modifications. Ford reportedly is using three systems in Detroit, and plans to expand the next-generation engineering platform to new facilities in the near future.

Ford engineers have the privilege of utilizing the tech in their advantage and are reportedly able to visualize vehicles while manipulating the environment to make improvements inside the 3D environment. Ford worked with Vicon, a company specializing in motion-capture technology, which captures engineer position and orientation from installed motion-capture video recorders.

“Ford can have a group of designers in Detroit reviewing a model while talking to designers in Cologne and Australia, all immersed in the same world at the same time.” says Warren Lester, Vicon product manager.

Each system has an estimated cost of about $30,000, making it a fairly affordable design platform that has great potential for Ford, and other automakers will certainly follow Ford’s progress.
The Oculus Rift Dev Kit has become popular with immersive driving simulators, as it provides gamers with a unique driving experience. It makes sense auto makers are interested in using the same technology to design prototypes.

Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information

Alan Mulally Won’t Be Next Microsoft CEO, Market Cap Drops $12B

Many Microsoft investors have dumped their stocks after it was revealed that the current Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally will not be joining the company as their next CEO. Edsel Ford II stated that Alan would be staying with his current position through to the end of 2014, putting Alan well outside the current 12 month range that the current Microsoft CEO has proposed to find a replacement.

The news say Microsoft taking a 3.5% hit, loosing them $1.43 per share. or to sum that up for you, Microsoft just lost $12 billion worth of value over night, leaving them at a value of $38.94 per share. The company is hardly about to go bust of course, this is just the usual ups and downs for a company of this size, but it shows just how eager the world is to learn who will take the big seat.

Let’s keep in mind that this is just based on Edsel Ford II’s statement, Alan Mulally could still be in the running, although it does seem unlikely now. Now it looks like Microsofts own Satya Nadella is the front running candidate.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information.

Ford Develop Car That Can Take Over The Steering To Avoid An Accident

Step aside Google Car, Ford is stepping in. According to BBC, Ford is working on its own research for a “Smart Car”. Though it doesn’t appear to drive a vehicle all by its self, it seems that the feature is only a safety feature, one that could possibly save some lives.

Ford is working on a system called “Obstacle Avoidance” which will warn a driver of dangers on the road, such as a possible collision. They system has a built-in display which shows the driver a warning sign, also sounding chimes. If the driver does not react the car will take control, by applying the breaks and/or looking for a gap and steering to avoid a crash. The system scans up to 200 metres ahead of the vehicle using three radars, several ultrasonic sensors as well as a camera.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYLwJY3CU18[/youtube]

Personally I find this feature and any feature that allows a vehicle to have any control of what you’re doing while driving to be scary. Perhaps that is why I drive a car that does not have a computer in it. I have driven quite a few vehicles over the years, but I prefer cars without computers. I guess I am old school, then again I could be considered paranoid that a hacker is going to take control of my car and send it out of control.

What are your thoughts on these “Smart Car” ideas? Would you want a car that had the ability to take control and steer you away from the dangers of the road? Chime in below and let us know.

Thank you BBC for providing us with this information.
Image courtesy of Ford
 

Researchers Show Possibility For “Car Hacking”

With our lives becoming increasingly connected by electronic technology it is only matter of time before everything becomes “hackable”. At the DEF CON 21 security convention experts revealed just how easy it is to hack cars and that it isn’t something that is far-fetched and reserved only for Sci-Fi films.

At the conference security engineer Charlie Miller and IOActive Director of Security Intelligence Chris Valasek demonstrated it was possibly to drive a car from a laptop including: taking over the steering, controlling acceleration, adjusting seat belt controls, turning the engine on or off, honking the horn and manipulating the console to show false speeds.

According to Forbes the tests were run on a 2010 Ford Escape and a Toyota Prius but the “vulnerabilities” of cars to hacking certainly don’t stop with those two models or manufacturers. The attacks show the vulnerabilities of current cars: the large number of sensors on them can be blocked via a denial-of-service attack while spoofing can be used to make them retrieve arbitrary data. With even more electronically controlled cars coming in the future the possibility to take them over completely becomes a viable and worrying option.

Ford and Toyota both responded with Ford saying they take these new developments seriously while Toyota said that they were unrealistic and not representative of real hacking. Toyota stated they believe their cars are fully protected against wireless hacking.

You can see the full video below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqe6S6m73Zw[/youtube]

Image courtesy of Forbes

Ford Hybrid Gets Better Performance And MPG Via Firmware Update

Don’t judge a book by its cover as when you bought a car from Ford’s Hybrid line, the specifications were apparently just a starting point and it looks like Ford are about to give the car a boost by offering up a few tweaks via a firmware update.

Ford have already been slapped on the wrist by the FCC after consumer reports show that what was advertised and what was achievable in the real world were two completely different things, but Ford are not going to take that laying down and are offering a free software update for a range of their cars that includes the C-MAX, Fusion and Lincoln MKZ starting from next month.

A whole range of fixes are on offer but best of all you can expect better fuel efficiency, an increase to the electric-only to speed from 62MPH to 85MPH and who knows what else!

Personally I think this is an interesting view of the modern world and the future of motoring. If this car were in the PC industry we would have to bring it back in for review as an overclocked model after the patch. The results of this patch still have to be seen in the real world but I certainly love the concept.

Thank you engadget for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of engadget.