31 October 2019 19:26

Ford Motor Company Bridgend Wales

The challenge for autonomous delivery vehicles, according to Dr. Ken Washington, Ford Motor Company CTO and Vice President, Research and Advanced Engineering, is that there's no driver to carry packages the last 50 feet to the delivery destination door. To address this issue, Ford teamed up with Agility Robotics to use the startup company's two-legged, box-carrying robot called Digit. Digit is designed to fold up and fit into the back of the self-driving Ford Transit van and unfold itself to get to work when needed. Since Digit works with an autonomous vehicle, the sensor suite carried by that vehicle is available to Digit if needed, such as when it encounters an unexpected obstacle. Digit can send an image back to the vehicle and have the self-driving van configure a solution.

Digit will ride in the back of Ford's self-driving Transit delivery vans, then walk at every stop to make a delivery. Writing a blog in the publication Medium, Ford's Washington notes that a self-driving vehicle is capable of creating a detailed map of the surrounding environment, so why not share that data with Digit instead of having the robot recreate the same type of information? After all, he points out, both Digit and the self-driving car need to know where they are in the world, where they need to go, and how to get there. When a self-driving vehicle brings Digit to its final destination, the vehicle can wirelessly deliver all of the information it needs, including the best pathway to the front door. Through this data exchange, Digit can work collaboratively with the vehicle to situate itself and begin making its delivery.

Through Ford's collaboration with Agility, Washington writes, the company is striving to determine the best way for its self-driving vehicles to cooperate with Digit and understand how this new delivery method can be taken advantage of in the future. Ford is testing autonomous vehicles in Detroit, Miami, Pittsburgh, and Washington, DC. Agility expects to produce about six final versions of Digit at a rate of about two per month. The exact specs for the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 remain a closely held secret within the Blue Oval, but the company has no qualms about showing the model to potential buyers at events like the 2019 Ford Nationals in Pennsylvania. One of the plaques for the Shelby GT500 shows the 5.2-liter supercharged V8 producing "700++ Horsepower." On another sign at the 2019 Ford Nationals, the Blue Oval states the output as "700+ Horsepower." The simplest explanation for this quandary is that the marketing person behind this sign adds an extra + simply to make the message pop more visually.

This would be an explanation why Ford doesn't offer the GT500's official, final horsepower and torque numbers yet. This means that the car lacks pieces like the carbon fiber wheels, fixed rear wing, and Recaro seats inside. Using a GT350 as a starting point, the company initially used a slightly different layout for the heat extractor that included small, raised sections on the slats. The Ford Fusion never really found footing in the American sedan market despite it's Aston Martin influenced styling cues. While Ford did move a lot of units, the automaker didn't make much money doing so and the Fusion along with other sedans and compacts will eventually be phased out of the US market.

According to our friends at CarsDirect.com, the Fusion Sport is absent from dealer order guides for 2020, Ford also confirmed to the website that the Sport will end its run in 2019. However, the sticker price of just over $40,000 made it a stretch for most Fusion buyers, and we found the car to be a bit of a let down once we got behind the wheel. The death of the Fusion Sport and the eventual discontinuation of the rest of the Fusion lineup is the result of a rapidly shrinking sedan market, with the domestic brands basically ceding the segment to the Asian automakers. Most buyers want crossovers, so Ford has pivoted their lineup to meet that need, and the automaker has the Edge Sport using the same 2.7-liter turbo. While the Edge Sport is more expensive it's not dramatically so with a starting MSRP of around $44,000. However, those looking for a nice pre-owned mid-size sedan with a little more punch than your typical choices can find a number of lightly used Fusion Sports for around $20,000. Though if you insist on buying a new Fusion Sport while they are still available, Ford is currently offering up to $3,250 in customer cash rebates and most dealers are hot to discount these cars even further. Ford will limit sales of its Edge to seven countries in Europe after the midsize SUV's high CO2 output hurt demand by raising local emissions taxes. These countries accounted for 82 percent of the Edge's total sales volume in the first three months, Ford said. Countries where the Edge will be discontinued include the UK, Ford's biggest European market. "The decision to limit Edge availability is in line with our strategy aimed at strengthening the Ford brand and creating a sustainably profitable business in Europe, including by taking action to improve or exit less profitable vehicle lines," Ford said. Edge customers are having to pay increasingly more tax in those countries that penalize cars with higher CO2. "This can significantly reduce sales potential," Ford said. Ford had predicted European sales of between 25,000-30,000 a year when the Canadian-built model was launched in 2016. Last year sales fell to 9,554 from 16,094 in 2017, according to data from market analysts JATO Dynamics. The Edge is only sold as a diesel in Europe, with CO2 levels rated at 156 grams per km and 187g/km for the two models available. Diesel sales in the mainstream midsize SUV sector fell by 22 percent in the first quarter this year, according to JATO data, but the fuel type still accounted for 62 percent of the sector's total. Total sales in the sector fell 7.7 percent to 84,517 for the quarter. Ford said it was launching more SUVs that "better match customer demand" such as the new-generation Kuga compact SUV and all-new Puma small SUV. Ford is also launching a plug-in hybrid version of its Explorer large SUV in Europe.