Take an in depth comparison of a Knapheide KUV to a cargo van with a shelving bin package. Learn more about Knapheide and our products at www.knapheide.com
- Ford recently upgraded its state-of-the-art VIRtual Test Track EXperiment (VIRTTEX) simulator with improved image rendering technologies and capabilities to study driver performance, helping in the development of safety and driver aid technologies
- VIRTTEX has helped in the development of heads-up displays, drowsy driver alerts and lane departure warning technology soon to be available on the all-new Ford Fusion
- Ford is the only North American automaker with a high-fidelity, motion-based simulator featuring a spherical dome on top of a hydraulic system to mimic vehicle movement. The simulator was developed in 2001
- Upgraded image rendering technologies now provide a high-resolution, digitally projected 360-degree horizontal field-of-view to test and measure driver acceleration, braking and steering performance as well as overall driver reactions in varying conditions
DEARBORN, Mich., Feb. 17, 2012 – Upgrades to Ford’s full-motion virtual test track will help the automaker continue to develop and test active safety and driver aid technologies that warn drivers of imminent collision, drowsiness and other potentially dangerous scenarios behind the wheel.
The VIRtual Test Track EXperiment (VIRTTEX) simulator, which features a spherical dome on top of a hydraulic system to mimic vehicle movement, now has upgraded image rendering technologies to provide a high-resolution, digitally projected 360-degree horizontal field-of-view to test and measure driver acceleration, braking and steering performance as well as overall driver reactions in varying conditions.
“VIRTTEX plays an integral role in helping us develop future safety and driver assist technology, making it essential to keep the simulator current with the latest technology,”,” said Mike Blommer, technical lead for the lab. “Coupled with improvements in the resolution and brightness of the projection technologies, as well as improved imagery capabilities, we will be able to boost our capabilities to conduct active safety studies.”
The 360-view helps the engineers evaluate driving performance with a complete view of every angle around the driver. Improved imagery creates the most realistic scenarios including other traffic, pedestrians and landmarks alongside the roadway.
Technical advances tested in part in VIRTTEX have included Lane Keeping System and collision warning, which is set to appear in the all-new Ford Fusion available to customers later this year.
Ford used VIRTTEX to examine driver responses and reaction times with advanced early-warning systems such as forward collision warning, a radar-based system designed to help avoid or mitigate the effect of rear-end collisions. The study concluded that certain warning systems may elicit a faster and more appropriate response for distracted drivers.
Ford continues to research numerous types of warnings – including audible, visual and tactile or vibrating warnings – and whether they are most effective alone or in combinations.
This work has already helped determine how soon incident warnings should be used, how intense they need to be, and specific patterns of the warnings in technologies such as the Lane Keeping System. Research to date has shown drivers respond more quickly to certain audible alerts that are more intense, thus more authoritative. Early research also shows some benefit from a combination of warnings – audio alerts backed up by visual warning reinforcement.
VIRTTEX studies are longer-timeframe studies, Blommer noted. The lab focuses on collecting quantitative and objective data, to determine what works best to keep drivers alert and safe behind the wheel. For example, studies show that for similarly performing warnings, drivers prefer subtle warnings such as steering wheel vibrations rather than loud chimes to alert them to a lane departure. The studies focus on how drivers react in certain scenarios and how technologies can help deter potential accidents.
The upgraded projectors are made by Ohio-based Barco and the imagery software is provided by Blue Newt Software of Michigan.
In 2003, Ford conducted one of its first driver distraction studies in VIRTTEX that measured a driver's failure to detect safety-relevant events while doing visual or manual tasks such as retrieving voicemail on a handheld cell phone. The study revealed much higher levels of distraction – glances off the road – among drivers doing such manual and/or visual tasks rather than if they were using some type of hands-free, voice interface.
The VIRTTEX simulator features a spherical dome mounted on a hydraulic system to duplicate vehicle movement. Projectors display a 360-degree horizontal and 45-degree vertical field of vision mounted to the base. The projectors surround the driver to replicate driving scenery, conditions and traffic scenarios synched with the test vehicle’s acceleration, braking and steering functions.
Over the past year, the new Ford Super Duty has been put to the test under the most brutal conditions. Six prototype trucks have been pushed to their limit and beyond. Find out from the guys who worked these trucks every day if the new Super Duty really lived up to its name
Azure’s plug-in hybrid technology to be initially integrated on Ford’s market leading F-Series Super Duty cab and chassis, the F-550, expected in early 2013
- Agreement provides for Azure to integrate its plug-in-hybrid technology on other Ford F-Series Super Duty cab and chassis, including the F-350 and F-450
- The commercial cab and chassis industry supports approximately 100,000 vehicles per year
- Ford F-Series Super Duty platform is the clear cab and chassis market leader with greater than 50% share
- F-Series program furthers existing business relationship between Azure and Ford that previously brought the innovative Transit Connect Electric and the E-450 BalanceTM Hybrid Electric Step Van and Shuttle Bus to market
In collaboration with Ford, Azure’s plug-in hybrid technology will be initially integrated on Ford’s market leading F-Series Super Duty cab and chassis, the F-550, which is expected to be available in early 2013. The agreement also allows Azure to perform hybrid powertrain conversions on other Super Duty platforms including F-350 and F-450 models and spans all engine, frame length and regular production options and configurations. The Super Duty program will allow Azure to further expand its product line-up in its targeted medium duty commercial truck segment.
The Azure/Ford agreement includes a ‘ship-thru’ provision that permits Azure to place vehicles in the Ford transportation system and allows qualified Ford Commercial Truck dealerships to sell and service the product in key markets in North America.
“We are extremely pleased to expand our relationship with Ford and launch our PHEV technology on the F-Series Super Duty platform, which is the largest and most successful cab and chassis brand in North America,” said Scott Harrison, Azure’s CEO. “This is an ideal outcome for Azure and our customers.”
With more than a 50% market share, the Ford F-Series Super Duty is the most established cab and chassis brand in the North American market. The commercial cab and chassis industry supports approximately 100,000 vehicles per year and is the preferred active work-truck for thousands of commercial fleets managing a broad range of logistical needs. The Super Duty offers several diesel and gasoline engine options and a variety of cab, bed and accessories options.
Collaboration builds on existing business relationship
Azure and Ford teamed up in 2009 to bring the innovative Transit Connect Electric to market in just 13 months after the program was first announced. The new PHEV F-Series program further expands the Azure/Ford business relationship which, in addition to the Transit Connect Electric, also markets the E-450 BalanceTM Hybrid Electric Step Van and Shuttle Bus.
“As interest in alternative energy products continues to grow, consumers are looking for more powertrain options that are both environmentally friendly and fit their driving needs,” said Rob Stevens, Commercial Vehicle Chief Engineer, Ford Motor Company. “The flexibility of our vehicle platforms and chassis allows Ford to develop our own alternative fuel products or work with partners, like Azure Dynamics, to deliver consumers with the power of choice when purchasing a greener, more fuel efficient vehicle.”
Prior to the Transit Connect Electric development, Azure and Ford collaborated on the E-450 cutaway and strip chassis to create the BalanceTM Hybrid Electric, a truck or shuttle that achieves up to 40% fuel improvement while reducing emissions and maintenance costs by up to 30% each. BalanceTM Hybrid Electric has 60% share in the medium duty (class 2c – V) hybrid commercial truck market in North America and is deployed in notable fleets like AT&T, CINTAS, DHL, FedEx Express, and Purolator to name a few.
It is expected that the cab and chassis market could grow by as much as 50% over the next five years as fleet operators, who have delayed purchase decisions, return to market to replace aging inventory. Interest in fuel efficient cab and chassis alternatives has never been greater due to rising and unpredictable fuel costs.
Moreover, enthusiasm for eco-friendly technologies that began with the largest national commercial fleets, is spreading to smaller, regional fleets that increasingly understand that alternative energy technologies do not require a sacrifice in performance or durability. The Ford F-Series Super Duty has already attracted legions of loyal customers, many of whom are enthusiastic about the performance benefits associated with the new PHEV option.
“The F-Series program aligns perfectly with our product development strategy,” said Harrison. “We’re able to focus on development and integration of our powertrain solutions and at the same time benefit from Ford’s expertise in building ground-up vehicle platforms keeping Azure’s capital costs in check.”
“Our engineering team has proven the flexibility of our technology through more than 40 different vehicle integrations and 35,000,000 miles of real world driving experience. We’ve been searching for the right opportunity and knew we could move quickly and intelligently when we found it. We feel strongly that the Ford F-Series program is exactly the right opportunity.”
About Azure Dynamics
Azure Dynamics Corporation (TSX: AZD)(OTC: AZDDF) is a world leader in the development and production of hybrid electric and electric components and powertrain systems for commercial vehicles. Azure is strategically targeting the commercial delivery vehicle and shuttle bus markets and is currently working internationally with a variety of partners and customers. The Company is committed to providing customers and partners with innovative, cost-efficient, and environmentally-friendly energy management solutions. For more information please visit www.azuredynamics.com.
The TSX Exchange does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
Forward-Looking Statements Advisory
Certain information included in this press release constitutes forward-looking statements and information and future-oriented financial information under applicable securities legislation and is provided for the purpose of expressing management’s current expectations and plans for the future. Readers are cautioned that reliance on such information may not be appropriate for other purposes, such as making investment decisions.
More particularly, this press release contains statements concerning Azure’s anticipated: business development strategy, customer orders, product deliveries, sales, revenue and revenue growth. The forward-looking statements are based on a number of key expectations and assumptions made by Azure, including expectations and assumptions concerning achievement of current timetables for development programs and sales, target market acceptance of Azure's products, current and new product performance, availability and cost of labor and expertise, and evolving markets for power for transportation vehicles. Although Azure believes that the expectations and assumptions used to develop the forward-looking statements are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on the forward-looking statements because Azure can give no assurance that they will prove to be correct.
Since forward-looking statements address future events and conditions, by their very nature they involve numerous risks and uncertainties that contribute to the possibility that the projections and forecasts in the forward-looking statements will not occur and that actual performance or results could differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the risks associated with Azure's stage of development, history of losses and lack of historical product revenues, uncertainty as to product development and sales milestones being met, product defect and performance risks, competition for capital and market share, uncertainty as to target markets, dependence upon third parties, changes in environmental laws or policies, uncertainty as to patent and proprietary rights, availability and retention of management and key personnel, exchange rate and currency fluctuations, uncertainties relating to potential delays or changes in plans with respect to product development or capital expenditures, the ability of Azure to access sufficient capital on acceptable terms, and environmental and safety risks. This is not an exhaustive list and additional information on these risks and other factors that could affect Azure’s operations and financial results are included in reports on file with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities and can be accessed through the SEDAR website at www.sedar.com.
The forward-looking statements contained in this press release are made as of the date hereof and Azure undertakes no obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements or information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, unless so required by applicable securities laws. Additionally, Azure undertakes no obligation to comment on the expectations of, or statements made by, third parties about Azure.
The guys who do the toughest jobs overwhelmingly choose the Ford Super Duty over any other heavy-duty truck. To find out why, we travel to the most punishing worksites out there. Learn more at http://www.ford.com/trucks/superduty/weownwork/
Ford Super Duty F-650 6.8L V10 Offers Functionality, Medium-Duty Capability in Class-Exclusive, Affordable Package
The Ford Super Duty F-650 gas model provides municipalities an affordable option in a robust truck adaptable for various purposes – saving an average of $8,300 compared to the F-650 diesel model
6.8-liter three-valve V10 gas engine provides 362 horsepower and 457 lb.-ft. of torque
New interior for added comfort with SYNC® hands-free phone connectivity available
Optional gaseous fuel prep package for conversion to compressed natural gas or propane fuels
DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 7, 2011 – Budget cuts and financial restrictions are daily realities for city and town governments, so finding ways to save money is imperative.
For municipalities and others seeking a cheaper alternative to replenish an aging medium-duty truck fleet, Ford offers the 2012 Super Duty F-650 with a gas engine – a class exclusive in the medium-duty truck segment. The gas variant costs thousands of dollars less than diesel trucks of its size.
Class 6 and 7 medium-duty trucks are the workhorses of municipal fleets, from single-axle dump trucks to highway plow trucks.
“The gas-engine F-650 is a highly capable truck that is Built Ford Tough without sacrificing comfort and fuel economy,” said Todd Kaufman, F-Series Chassis Cab Marketing manager.
The F-650 6.8-liter Pro-Loader with 19.5-inch wheels starts at $54,840 MSRP and the F-650 6.8-liter Dock Height with 22-inch wheels starts at $55,065. The average vehicle savings for an F-650 gas model compared to F-650 trucks with diesels is $8,300.
Power and flexibility
The 6.8-liter three-valve gas engine renders 362 horsepower and 457 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine couples with a Ford 6R410 six-speed transmission with double overdrive gears for improved fuel economy. Further, an optional gaseous fuel preparation package is available for conversion to compressed natural gas or propane fuels if desired, another option for fleets to lower their operating costs.
The all-new F-650 is Ford-designed and Ford-built with a new interior providing comfort unexpected in a work truck.
Now all 2012 Ford F-650 models will have available SYNC® technology to help keep drivers better connected without them having to divert their eyes from the road. Last month, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued a ruling prohibiting Interstate commercial truck and bus drivers from using hand-held electronics while behind the wheel. Ford SYNC allows drivers to communicate wirelessly without sacrificing safety
Jim Coker of Metro Lawn & Heritage Propane describes the benefits that lawn care providers will see by switching both their equipment and vehicle fuel from gasoline to propane!
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The next-generation Ford Transit full-size van will be built in the United States as an eventual replacement for the best-selling Econoline E-series. Sharing the same name and platform as the Transit that's sold in Europe, Asia and other markets, we're putting Transit through grueling durability and real world testing to make sure it will live up the demands of our customers and E-Series' workhorse reputation.
Buzzing saws, falling trees and a work floor that's steep, slick and rugged. Loggers have a dangerous job. They need a truck that's as tough as they are. See why the Ford Super Duty stands high above the rest in the forestry business.