The Weekly Grind: Week 52

Ford Motor Company is introducing its next-generation Fusion Hybrid autonomous development vehicle, just in time for CES and the North American International Auto Show in January. The new vehicle uses the current Ford autonomous vehicle platform, but ups the processing power with new computer hardware. Electrical controls are closer to production-ready, and adjustments to the sensor technology, including placement, allow the car to better see what’s around it. New LiDAR sensors have a sleeker design and more targeted field of vision, which enables the car to now use just two sensors rather than four, while still getting just as much data.2nd-row

An evolution of the 2016 QX Sport Inspiration, the QX50 Concept shows how the design of its conceptual forebear could be adapted for a future production model in the world’s fastest-growing vehicle segment.

Industry News

The overall industry has been fairly calm during this final week of 2016.

Preparations for the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show and NAIAS (Detroit Auto Show) are expected to bring a significant amount of news.

Honda – Acura

A large recall was announced for the 2011-2016 Model Year Odyssey regarding the 2nd row chairs. Although no injuries or crashes have been reported, Honda will recall 634,000 minivans to install additional seat slide springs and brackets to ensure that the seat isn’t able to tilt or slide unexpectedly after being returned to its normal position. Expect the recall to begin in the spring of 2017.

 

Ford – Lincoln

As the entire industry is learning how to best integrate the cameras, radar, and other sensors, Ford’s latest Fusion looks to be the most “normal” looking autonomous test-car to date. Expanding its fleet from 10 to 30 Fusion Hybrid’s, Ford’s goal has been to have a fully (SAE Level 4) autonomous vehicle available in 2021.  

Certain model years of the previous generation Fusion are being recalled for brakes that may fail when going over rough or uneven roads. There have been three reported accidents.

 

Nissan/ Infiniti

Making its global debut at NAIAS (Detroit Auto Show) in January, the QX50 Concept represents the brand’s intentions with their mid-size crossover. Infiniti will also reveal newly available autonomous drive support technologies which can be expected to be available when the production version is available. Also likely to be available for the first time is their variable-compression 4-cylinder turbo. This technology controls the length of the stroke, thereby enabling optimal compression ratios per any given situation. It’s a very bold step in a world where hybridization is the common step for automakers to take when looking for further efficiency and power.

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