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Ford is building the Mustang Mach-E a hands-free driving system

It’s part of Ford’s push to make sure that the new addition to the Mustang family is as tech-savvy as EV drivers have come to expect. With Tesla popularizing its Autopilot system, the ability for a car to take on some share of the highway driving is increasingly expected for new electrified vehicles.

However truly hands-free systems are still a comparative rarity. Autopilot, like most driver assistance systems, still expects the driver’s hands to be resting on the wheel. While you can move your hands away for a limited period of time – typically based on the speed of the road, among other factors – eventually the car will demand you return them.

In a welcome move, every trim of the 2023 Mustang Mach-E will launch with blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keeping assistance as standard. They’re features that remain options on a number of more expensive cars; the Jaguar I-PACE, for example, doesn’t come with blind spot warnings as standard. However Ford has something more interesting in the pipeline.

It’s an attention-based system, which will eventually allow the Mustang Mach-E driver to take their hands on the wheel and rely on the EV to keep pace with traffic and stay centered in the lane. It uses a camera system built on top of the steering column, just below the speed display, which tracks where the driver is looking. As long as you’re paying sufficient attention to the road ahead, the Mach-E won’t insist on you actually holding the wheel.

Roam outside of the mapped area, and the system will turn off. You’ll be able to use regular adaptive cruise control, but not hands-free. Ford says that geofencing will expand over time, because of the fact that the Mustang Mach-E has OTA update support.

Indeed it’s that connectivity which will be used to turn on the system when it’s finally available. Ford will be installing the necessary hardware from day one – though it won’t be standard on all trims – then deploying the software to enable that hardware later.

“So all of the hardware for that technology will be in the car at the launch,” Dave Pericak, Director of Icons at Ford, confirms. “But we will then do is over the air update. We will enable that feature a little bit later as we finish our development of it.”

Ford is being upfront about the fact that this isn’t autonomous driving. “It’s not quite Level 3,” Pericak says, “it’s a little more than Level 2 with the standard definition of Level 2, but it’s not a Level 3.”

Initially, the Mustang Mach-E’s hands-free system won’t be able to do automatic lane changes. The driver will be responsible for changing lane themselves, at which point the system will re-engage. However, that’s something Ford is working on, and the OTA system means that future updates would be able to add that feature in at a later point.

The number of sensors Ford is building into the Mustang Mach-E is shaping up to be considerable. Right now it’s not confirming just how many there’ll be, but it did tell SlashGear that there’d be cameras, LIDAR, ultrasonic, and radar in the mix. The result is 360-degree awareness around the vehicle, though without knowing just what sensors have visibility in each place, we don’t know what sort of range that full coverage will encompass.

All the same, it’s a welcome move for Ford, which has faced criticism that its driver-assistance technology has lagged behind that of some of the automaker’s rivals. It’s unclear when, exactly, this hands-free driver assistance will be added to the Mustang Mach-E, but the fact that cars will be equipped with the necessary hardware at least from the outset is promising. Deliveries of the 2023 Mustang Mach-E will begin from late 2023, initially with the Premium and Launch Edition trims, with other versions – including the most powerful GT – arriving in the following nine months or so.

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2023 Ford Mustang Shelby Gt350 Review

2023 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Review – Trading ponies for stallions

The 2023 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 wasn’t designed to kick ass at the drag strip, but that doesn’t mean I’m not sitting in the right-hand lane of the closest 1320 waiting for the staging lights to clear. You see, yesterday’s lightning storm wiped out the lapping sessions I was scheduled to attend that evening, which left me scrambling to find a track on which to sample Ford’s all-new apex pony car.

Of course, as with the Boss 302, the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350’s end result is about as far from the standard Mustang as you can get. The bones might be the same, but the similarities end there. Don’t think of the GT350 as the next evolution of the GT model’s brawny persona, but rather imagine it as a world-class sports car wrapped in Mustang sheet metal – and that’s an important distinction to make when trying to decide whether the Shelby GT350 might be for you. The coupe’s track credentials are impeccable, but they come at a price that will be exacted upon you each and every time you slip behind the wheel to commute to work in the morning.

This is far from a criticism of the car’s outstanding package. You see, Ford really didn’t cut any corners when assembling the chassis for the Mustang Shelby GT350, fitting it with aluminum suspension components where possible and also giving it the option of magnetically-adaptive shock absorbers, which is a first for the ‘stang. The car’s enormous 19-inch Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires are aided and abetted by six-piston Brembo brakes up front, an independent rear suspension out back, and an extremely aggressive alignment that highlights turn-in and provides excellent communication through the steering wheel.

All of that sauce, so delicious on the track, overpowers much of the Mustang’s flavor in day-to-day driving. Around town, even with the shocks set to their most supple, the Shelby GT350 remains overly eager to tell you about each and every striation in the pavement below, while on the highway the vehicle’s propensity to tramline will keep your arms active as you attempt to plot a relatively straight course.

Will some buyers be turned off by the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350’s aggressive character? Most certainly – but it really doesn’t matter. This is a car that wasn’t built for the masses, nor even for the traditional Mustang GT buyer, but rather for individuals seeking an out-of-the-box lap-turner, and who understand the compromises in comfort that come with that mission statement.

It’s also reasonably affordable. Pricing for the base 2023 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 starts at just under $50,000, with the GT350R adding $13k to that figure (and bringing with its such exotic accoutrements as carbon fibre wheels and Sport Cup 2 rubber). If you want the mag-ride suspension, or any number of other electronic goodies inside the car it will cost you extra – unless you wait for a 2023 model, which makes the current year’s Track package (including mag ride) standard and boosts the price floor by about the same amount it would have required to add it a la carte. It’s also a bit easier to configure the car how you’d want it if you’re patient enough to forgo the initial production run, as options are more logically grouped for second-year cars, and you also get the benefit of avoiding the at-times onerous dealer markup that’s occasionally been reported for the 2023 Shelby GT350.

The tree counts down and the Mustang to my left explodes out of the gate. I, on the other hand, have learned from earlier grudge matches this evening that it’s best to forgo launch control and instead rollout ever so slightly from the starting line prior to stomping hard on the power. Acceleration is linear at first and then once past 3,500 revs it gathers steam with gusto, shooting me towards my first shift point, upon which I’m still astonished to discover that second gear immediately pegs 6,000 on the car’s tach. I guide the transmission into fourth by the end of the run, a 12.8 second pass @ 114-mph to the 12.5 second performance of my rival.

I’ll take it. I’m not here to take any trophies home, and neither is anyone else. Tonight is about enjoying one of the best-sounding, and most attractively-styled Mustangs ever built, in the company of a gearhead crowd that is equally appreciative. Compliments abound from everyone who approaches me about the car, singling out everything from its intimidating aero package to its sleek profile to its tenorous tailpipes. Lap after lap of G-crushing fury might be the Shelby GT350’s raison d’etre, but it’s almost as exciting in 12-to-13-second increments as well.

2013 Ford Fusion Energi Test Drive: Ford Does Gamification

2013 Ford Fusion Energi test drive: Ford does gamification

Electric vehicles are becoming all the rage these days, and Ford is looking to make a dent in the market with their own offerings. They have a small variety of hybrid vehicles, but I ended up checking out the 2013 Fusion Energi and giving it a brief test ride around one of Ford’s test tracks at their headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. One of the big features that the company is touting is the inclusion of gamification, which aims to encourage drivers to drive more efficiently on the road by providing a drive score.

This was my first time behind the wheel of any kind of electric vehicle, so I was a bit nervous at the start, which is odd since there was nothing to really be nervous about. It mostly came down to the fact that I wasn’t sure what to expect out of an electric vehicle, but I came to find out the car handled almost exactly like a normal car does.

However, one of the most obvious differences is that the Fusion Energi can run off of a battery, so when you start the car up, there’s no cranking of the engine or the all-too-familar whirring noise of an idling vehicle. Instead, when you start it up, you’re treated with absolute silence, making you wonder if the car even turned on. Indeed, it did, and off I went.

Handling of the Fusion Energi wasn’t all too different from a traditional gas-guzzling vehicle, although the brakes were extremely touchy – something that I find to be the case for a lot of newer cars, especially from Ford. In this case, it’s partially down to the regenerative braking in the Fusion Energi, meaning that the kinectic energy caused by braking is converted and used to power other portions of the vehicle.

As for acceleration, it was pretty superb, and the lightest touch of the gas pedal sprung me forward a few miles-per-hour for every time I applied more pressure to the gas pedal. I didn’t get it up quite to highway speeds during my drive, but I felt that the Fusion Energi would be more than a good option for daily commutes at the least.

On the inside, you have a comfy interior, and the center console includes your usual set of controls, and the touch screen up top allows you to adjust a number of settings with the tap of a finger, as well as get turn-by-turn directions and all sorts of media options. The instrument panel also includes some digital displays as well, with one that shows you how much battery you have left, as well as your mileage.

This display also gives you your drive score and brake score during your drive. You have a brake score that gives you a score out of 100% that’s based on how efficient your braking was. For instance, taking your foot off the gas, coasting, and then slowly applying the brake until you come to a gentle stop will most likely score you in the high 90% range, while stopping suddenly and creating a whiplash effect will give you a very low brake score.

The drive score is an overall score based on your driving habits. It accounts for braking, acceleration, top speed, and even interior features that use up energy, such as the air conditioning. Drivers are more likely to earn a high score for accelerating and braking gently, as well as keeping their top speed at the speed limit. However, the overall drive score is much harder than getting a good brake score. I was able to earn the best brake score out of all the other test drivers that day, but I found that getting a good overall drive score was a lot harder than I anticipated.

Essentially, Ford is encouraging drivers to drive more efficiently on the road using this clever gamification system. It’s proven that human beings love statistics and having the best score, whether that’d be through video games are other forms of activities. Adding a video game-like experience to everyday tasks makes them not only more enjoyable and engaging, but it can also make you better at these activities by attempting to do the best job you can in order to score points and level up, so to speak.

Ford says that their new Fusion Energi can go up to 620 miles on a full charge and on a full tank of gas, with a rated fuel mileage of 100 MPGe. The price is where reality sinks in, however. The Fusion Energi starts just short of $39,000, but it’s on par with its competition, with the Chevy Volt also priced in the $39,000 range. Then again, the only question you need to ask yourself is if the higher cost is worth the investment, seeing as you won’t need to fill up the gas tank as often.

2023 Ford Bronco Sport Review

2023 Ford Bronco Sport Review – A name to live up to

The new 2023 Ford Bronco Sport is not the new Ford Bronco, a faintly odd sentence you find yourself saying fairly frequently in parking lots and at traffic lights when you’re driving a bright red Badlands trim example. Blame until-now-untapped enthusiasm for the Bronco brand and the high profile resurrection of the nameplate this year – oh, and Ford’s massive “BRONCO” lettering across the grille – for that, and get used to some staring.

The “true” new 2023 Bronco arrives later this year, but to tide us over there’s the 2023 Bronco Sport with some of the styling, some of the cachet, and some of the off-road talent. At least, that’s Ford’s big pitch for what you could, cruelly, describe as an Escape crossover playing dress-up as a Weekend Warrior.

Certainly, the Bronco Sport and its Escape cousin share some guts. Ford’s C2 platform is underneath – meaning the baby-Bronco also has DNA in common with the Lincoln Corsair – and familiar engines are under the hood. You can have the Bronco Sport with the 1.5-liter EcoBoost turbo three-cylinder engine with 181 hp and 190 lb-ft of torque, or step up to the 2.0-liter four-cylinder version with 245 hp and 275 lb-ft. Either way there’s an 8-speed automatic transmission.

The bad news is that, unlike with the Escape, there’s no hybrid engine option. The good news is that 4×4 AWD is standard on the Bronco Sport, rather than optional as on the crossover.

In fact there are two 4×4 systems. Most Bronco Sport models get a version of the Escape’s AWD with programming nudged in an off-road direction. The Badlands trim – that I reviewed – gets a twin-clutch rear differential, with torque vectoring and a differential lock. That can push all of the engine power to one of the rear wheels, should you find yourself in a particularly tricky situation.

My colleague Vincent had already been left impressed by just how capable the Bronco Sport actually is in off-road situations (much to, quite frankly, his surprise). Badlands trim gets a suspension lift – raising ground clearance from 7.9- to 8.8-inches – and boosted dampers, too, and adds Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl to the five drive modes – Normal, Sand, Slippery, Sport, and Eco – in Ford’s G.O.A.T. (Goes Over Any Type of Terrain) terrain management system.

You access that with an easily-twiddled knob in the center console, surrounded by chunky buttons for the 4WD lock and other features. The whole Bronco Sport cabin keeps to that burly, glove-friendly off-road feel too. Knurled rubber knobs, big HVAC controls, and a generally clean layout add up to a dashboard with some personality. Sure, not all of the plastics are the same soft-touch that Ford has used judiciously, but it works well both aesthetically and practically, with no shortage of cubbies (with grippy rubber linings).

Indeed, the Bronco Sport is full of thoughtful features. The separately hinged rear-glass was useful for dropping in bags of shopping in tight parking lots while the front 180-degree camera, though intended to help you squeeze through perilous mountain passes, proved just as handy at avoiding curbs. Ford Co-Pilot360 is standard across the board, with pre-collision assist with automatic braking, lane-keeping, blind spot warnings, and auto high-beams. Upper trims get Trail Control, which is basically low-speed cruise control for off-roading, and adaptive cruise control with lane centering for the highway.

SYNC 3 supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, with a wireless charging pad as standard, but I do wish Ford had used its newer SYNC 4 on the 8-inch touchscreen as that looks and operates more cleanly. You also get the FordPass Connect smartphone app, which allows for optional remote start, unlock/lock, and other features from your phone. A 10-speaker B&O audio system with subwoofer is optional.

The front seats are comfortable and well-padded, though Badlands trim keeps dual-zone climate control as an option. You do get studier fabrics and materials on it than some of the other, plusher Bronco Sport trims: the Badlands has rubberized flooring, a matching cargo floor, and tough velour seats that feel like they’d be easier to clean.

In the back, the Bronco Sport’s height means headroom isn’t an issue, but legroom feels tight. Rivals offer more space for your knees, and the useful zippered pouches in the seat-backs only eat into what you do get if you stuff them full. The 60/40 split bench lifts to reveal more storage or alternatively folds down, expanding the 32.4 cu-ft trunk to 65 cu-ft. The high roofline makes it big, flexible space, and there are hooks integrated around the edge to lash things down. Ford also offers various lights and outlets, including some built into the tailgate itself for those early morning or late night loading and unloading sessions.

The 2.0-liter EcoBoost may be familiar, but that’s no bad thing generally. Torque arrives rapidly, and leaves the little off-roader feeling perky and urgent around town. Highway cruising isn’t short on grunt either, though you hear more of the drivetrain than in rival crossovers. As for the suspension, that’s dialed in with the wilderness in mind – to avoid shaking your teeth out should you venture off asphalt – and, combined with fairly strong power-assistance on the steering, means that cornering can feel a little more remote than in some sportier alternatives.

Ford’s packaging means you can carry a pair of mountain bikes in the back, which is impressive. The 2,200 pound tow rating is less so, and the 21 mpg city / 26 mpg highway / 23 mpg combined economy ratings aren’t going to win the crossover any awards.

Page Segmentation And The Effects On Link Building

The major search engines, in an effort to refine the quality of search results, are looking more closely at how a target page is organized. The indexer will parse the page’s layout and identify what it thinks are the most important blocks, and give those blocks preference in the index.

This smart idea by Yahoo, Google and Microsoft may have profound implications for webmasters — and the outcomes may not be so stellar for webmasters caught unprepared.

The Chaos of Link Building

Traditional link building remains a chaotic affair. Webmasters develop what they believe is compelling content and hope that people will create links to their work product, just as they make links to useful material on other sites. These links help influence search-engine rankings; the more that well-trafficked sites link to a specific page, the higher the page’s rankings generally become.

Keyword density plays a part, too. The more keyword-rich a page is, generally speaking, the more likely it will rise in the search results, and then become a page that others choose to link to. Of course, there are various, ever-changing permutations of the search algorithms to prevent people from gaming the system, but in general, links are built from content that people find, determine to be useful, and share with others from their own sites.

The Importance of Page Segmentation

Not all links are created equal, however. Links provide varying degrees of benefit to the destination site. In the past, the major concern was cross-linking pages on the same site, but the search engines are deploying new strategies for ranking the significance of a link based on where it falls on a given page.

A Look at Current Search Engine Trends

Search providers are exploring ways to scan the visual content of how a page is organized to find Web content structure. Microsoft, for example, has patented VIPS – a vision-based page segmentation algorithm, which its chief researchers claim “presents an automatic top-down, tag-free independent approach to detect Web structure. It simulates how a user understands Web layout structure based on his visual perception.”

Yahoo filed a patent application in 2008 for a search algorithm that also looks to visual cues instead of the HTML structure of a page to discern the semantic content of a page. Google received a patent for a method of identifying visual gaps on a page, with the original filing dating to 2006.

The upshot: The relative importance of terms within a page becomes a function of its perceived significance given its position within the visual presentation, irrespective of the HTML structure of the document. Search engines are likely weighting links based on their prominence and location within the page’s semantic presentation.

Page Design Strategies

If the object of the game is link maximization to influence page rankings, then the smart money says webmasters ought to structure content based on search engines’ relative rankings of different segments of the page.

Patent applications from Microsoft, Yahoo and Google suggest that search engines are providing relatively higher scores to links in sections that the indexer interprets as having the most semantic value given the page’s visual structure. Therefore, including links in-line within articles and blog posts may be more useful than simply including them as a “references” section, or as a list of links in a side column or widget.

Links from footers and navigational headers are likewise probably of lower value. In addition, links in areas like filler text may have their value significantly degraded when search engines evaluate whether they’re housed in places that contain duplicated content on a site or on the Web.

Place links in higher-profile segments of the page, and structure a site to avoid putting relevant information in a place that could be interpreted, given its physical placement on a page, as less important. For example, a law firm’s site should not include its primary areas of practice in an “about us” sidebar, three-quarters of the way down a side column on the home page, with no significant mention of it elsewhere on the site.

HTML5 to the Rescue

One great thing about HTML5 is you don’t have to rely on a search engine’s discretion of what is part of a template and what is part of the content area if you declare it in your code. The following HTML5 tags are ideal for template specifications:

Improving search rankings isn’t as easy as it used to be. Designing sites with an eye toward how the algorithms work, even if the benefit is mathematically marginal, is better than relying on a search engine’s best judgment.

What Are The Benefits Of Link Building Packages?

Do you know what link building is? A lot of businesses know that this is something they should be working on. But, they are not always sure of all the details. Essentially, link building is the process of getting other websites to link to your own website. While it is a simple concept, it is something that requires a lot of hard work.

Business owners have a lot of their minds. Often, link building for their website gets missed. This is why link-building packages have emerged online. This can be a way of reaping the benefits of link building, such as a better ranking and higher traffic, but without having to do everything in-house. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits link-building packages can offer your business.

Leave to the Experts

Link building is something that should be included in every digital marketing strategy. But, there is one reason why this is not happening. Business owners do not know how to work on link building. If this sounds like something that is happening at your company, it is time to take this seriously. If you want to boost your website traffic, as well as enjoy more sales, you need to be committed to link building.

It will Save You Time

Not only is link building complicated and hard work, but it is also time-consuming. It is not a one-off task and it is a project you are going to have to work on every month and consistently in order to see results. A lot of business owners and small teams simply do not have the time to dedicate to link building. This means that they are missing out on all the great rewards it offers them.

Again, this is where link-building packages come to the rescue. When you hand over this task to a team, they are going to deal with all of it for you. For example, this can include researching and writing quality guest posts, as well as finding the best websites to publish them on. You can make sure experts handle your link building and are going to achieve results. At the same time, you can work on other tasks and be efficient with your time.

Enjoy more Conversions

You can Save Money

It is possible to buy individual links for your website. But, this is something that can often work out expensive, as well as time-consuming. The good thing about link-building packages is that you can often save money. This is going to be good if you have a budget or just want to get value for money. You can purchase several links at once and this makes it a lot easier.

There are going to be several link-building packages available. Make sure to check out what each one is going to offer you. For instance, prices can be dictated by the domain rating of websites and this is something you want to pay attention to if you want your link building to be successful.

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