If you’re traveling down the highways of America with your business’ contact information proudly plastered across the side of your vehicle, you have to be on the lookout for prank phone calls and dummy email messages. And maybe something a little more nefarious, like the Islamic State acquiring your vehicle and then utilizing it for military operationswith your telephone number still displayed on the side of the truck.
That’s why, as reported by CNN, Mark Oberholtzer of Texas City, Texas, is suing the Houston car dealership where he traded in his Ford F-2 50 in 213 for$ 1 million: he subsequently detected it was being used by the jihadist group ISIS, and was routinely appearing in their social media images.
And how did Oberholtzer discover this flustering fact? The advertising decals for his plumbing business were never removed from the truck. And the photo in the tweet below was shared over and over again online( and was featured on the Colbert Report last year ), leading to plenty of threatening phone calls to Oberholtzer’s Mark-1 plumbing business.
The photo ran viral, was picked up by news outlets and led to thousands of phone calls to Oberholtzer’s business and personal phones, according to the lawsuit.
Most of the bellows were harassing and threatened violence and included the “yelling( of) expletives at whomever answered the phone, ” the “singing in Arabic for the length of the phone call” and “threats of injury or death” made against Oberholtzer’s family and employees.
Oberholtzer had to temporarily shut down his business and leave town, according to the lawsuit, resulting in financial losses. He’s also had visits from Homeland Security and the FBI .
Even a year later, Oberholtzer, who carries a gun for his protection, said he still obtains harassing phone calls because of the ad on his old truck.
Oberholtzer had traded in the old truck to a Houston car dealership and received a 2012 Ford F-2 50 in return. Before he left, he began pulling off his Mark-1 business decals. But according to Oberholtzer’s lawsuit, a salesman stopped him, “says hes” would damage the paint. Oberholtzer said he was told the dealership would get rid of the decals.
The lawsuit further claims that the truck was sold in an auction in November 2013, and in December, it was shipped to Mersin, Turkey. From there, it somehow ended up in the hands of ISIS.
And while this is a terrible ad for Oberholtzer’s business, perhaps it’s not such a bad product placement for Ford.
I am a Ford F1 50 owned. I am impressed with this truck’s performance in Syria. Al Nusrah got itself a workhorse. pic.twitter.com/ orJyslo2UC
If you thought Google’s steering wheel-less Prototype automobiles were a vision of a far-off future, you’re in for a astound. That’s because Ford Motor Company announced Tuesday that in the year 2021, it will have a high-volume, fully autonomous vehicle for ride sharing available not just to luxury customers but to everyone.
What’s more, the vehicle won’t have a steering wheel, accelerator or brake pedals: it will be fully autonomous.
Ford’s fully autonomous car will fall under Level 4 autonomy on the Society of Automotive Engineers( SAE) international standard for automated driving. For comparison, Tesla’s Autopilot and Mercedes’ Drive Pilot are Level 2 autonomy.
Generally, Level 4 has been defined by an autonomous car’s ability to drive itself in some environments, like on freeway onramps or during low-speed traffic jams. Instead, Ford is defining Level 4 a bit differently for its yet-unnamed 2021 vehicle autonomous vehicle.
The fully autonomous Ford will be able to handle all driving duties in a predetermined area an area that’s already been mapped with high-definition 3D technology.
The Ford won’t have a steering wheel, accelerator or brake pedals
That means you won’t be allowed to hail a ride from one of these cars and run anywhere merely in the areas the Ford has been programmed to run. However, where it does take you, it’ll be able to handle anything the world can throw at it. Or, at least, it better. Because you can’t intervene in the driving at all.
This leads us to the second part of Ford’s announcement: its further investment in four companies championing technologies key to fully automated driving.
Ford announced earlier Tuesday that it has invested in Velodyne, a light detecting and ranging( LiDAR) sensor producer based in Silicon Valley. LiDAR has long been seen as a key component in a fully autonomous vehicle. Ford also acquired SAIPS, an Israeli company working with AI and deep computer learn, which, too, will help its automobiles handle any situation they may encounter.
An exclusive licensing agreement has also been announced between Ford and Nirenberg Neuroscience LLC, which will help Ford’s autonomous cars identify objects on the road. Lastly, Ford has invested in Civil Maps, a Berkeley-based company pioneering 3D mapping tech the tech that will be the key to the vehicle’s Level 4 independence rating.
Although five years seems far off, for Ford, it’s a blink of an eye. That’s OK because the carmaker has been working on autonomous driving for more than 10 years and it has a lot more to accomplish in the next five.
By the end of this year, for example, Ford will have the largest autonomous test vehicle fleet of any automaker. In fact, it will have around 30 self-driving Fusion Hybrid sedans on the roads in California, Arizona and Michigan.
In conjunction with that expansion of its autonomous driving fleet and its tech investments, Ford is also doubling the size of its Palo Alto campus.
Of course, since the promised vehicle is five years off, Ford has not chose what platform the fully autonomous auto will ride on. Nor has it determined whether it will be a sedan, hatchback or SUV. Moreover, Ford isn’t sure whether its fully autonomous vehicle is likely to be powered by a gasoline, hybrid or fully electric powertrain.
Intriguingly, those aren’t the only unknowns with this project. Ford isn’t sure how it will offer the ride-sharing vehicle to customers, be it through the FordPass app or with another ride-sharing platform. Clearly, there’s a lot of details to be worked out in the next half decade.
While the fully autonomous Ford will start off as a ride-share-only vehicle, as the costs of the technology comes down, it’s plausible that you might be able to buy one for yourself. The tech begs the issues to, though: Would you even require or want to own a self-driving automobile?
No matter, though, in just five years, you’ll probably be able to hail a ride in one whether you own it or not.
The most important person in the history of the Le Mans-conqueringFord GT40 race car just might be Enzo Ferrari. When the Italian walked away from a deal to sell his company to Ford, Henry Ford II issued an edict to his engieers: Build me a car that will crush Ferrari at the world’s premiere race.
If Ferrari is the most important guy, Eric Broadley just might be the second. He owned Lola Cars, the British racing outfit that stuffed a V8 engine into a mid-engine race car just 40 inches tall and performed admirably atthe 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1963 (until a mechanicalproblem knocked it out). Ford bought thedesign, hiredBroadley tobolsterits racing program, and made the 1963 Lola Mk 6 the basis of the GT40.
It worked beautifully. TheFord GT40won Le Mans every year from 1966—when it swept the podium—to 1969. The GT40 is an icon, and Ford has on a few occasions resurrected the moniker for limited-edition, big-money supercars. The latest is so crazy amazingthat youmust apply for the right to buy one.
The Ford boss has set the target of an autonomous vehicle on the road this year as Detroit races Apple and Google
Self-driving cars will be the most significant development in motoring since Americans swapped horses for cars, the chief executive of Ford has said.
Speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the worlds biggest technology event, Mark Fields said that focus groups had traditionally equated Fords Mustang with freedom. But is sitting in traffic in LA really freedom? Fields asked. The part thats true freedom is going to be changing. In Beijing, getting around in an autonomous vehicle thats your cocoon can be freedom. Driving with a steering wheel is as antiquated as wanting to ride a horse.
Car manufacturers have dominated this years show, with Toyota, Volkswagen, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler all bringing futuristic cars more notable for their software than for their silhouettes. These cars aim to drive themselves, are filled with touch screens and are permanently connected to the internet..
Fields announced an initiative with Amazon to integrate its voice-activated Alexa and Echo assistants into Fords cars, which would enable drivers to connect to their home systems and ask the car to open the garage door, start the engine or turn on the light above the front door.
He also set an ambitious target of having an autonomous vehicle on the road by the end of 2016, but did not announce a widely-expected deal with Google to share software and vehicle expertise.
Dragos Maciuca, a former Apple executive who now runs Fords Silicon Valley branch, said the most difficult issue was that Detroit had a seven-year cycle for a new car, while Silicon Valley products operated on a one-year cycle. Its an inflection point for the car, he said. I dont think its panic, but were certainly accelerating.
Technology companies including Apple, Uber and Google are all developing significant teams that believe they can beat Detroit in the race to a fully robotic car.
Our assumption is Apple is going to do a car, and itll have a great interface, Fields said. But you cant reboot a vehicle as youre going down the highway at 70 miles an hour.
Ford is convinced that technology companies are underestimating the expertise involved in car production. Fords chief technical officer, Raj Nair, said: To talk about Google without sounding too offensive, understanding the technical complexity of a car, the number of lines of code is not what is in your smartphone.
Carmakers sold more units in the US than ever before in 2015, with the car industry now worth $2.3 tn . But the transportation industry was 5.4tn and were getting zero of that, Fields said, referring to mass transit, taxis and ridesharing.
Dr Gill Pratt, chief executive of the recently opened Toyota Research Institute, with offices in Silicon Valley and near the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, sounded a note of caution.
We are a long way from the finish line of fully autonomous cars, he said. Most of it is easy, but a little bit is very hard. It was simple to program a car to cruise down a highway or stop at a red light. But, he asked, how should it react if debris falls off the back of a truck?
Pratt, who formerly worked for the research arm of the US Defense Department, said he expected that it would be more than four years before consumers began to have fully autonomous vehicles. Many experts believe full adoption of autonomous vehicles will not happen until 2030.
Despite the floor space given to cars, the show still had 220,000 sq metres to spare for every other imaginable technology product including smartwatches, smart toilets, smart washers, smart windows, and even a smart nappy-changing station.
Hatch Baby is being pitched as a virtual nanny that weighs and measures a child each time its nappy is changed. Parents also enter data about stool colour and information on when they resumed intimacy with their spouse.
There was huge interest in drones, with more than 100 new models on display. The Chinese-made Ehang 184, which looked more like a miniature helicopter, claimed to be the first to be able to carry a person, while Intel demonstrated how its Yuneec Typhoon drone could recognise and steer around moving objects, such as falling trees. Another Chinese drone, the DJI Phantom, featured a built-in high-quality 4K camera able to use Wi-Fi to stream video footage up to three-quarters of a mile away.
During one of the CES debates, Americas top privacy regulator, the chair of the Federal Trade Commission, Edith Ramirez, said that consumers needed to be cautious about handing over more of their data to companies as they committed more of their lives to the internet. Consumers are going to be slow to take up these products if there are issues with privacy and security, Ramirez said.
Asked about the risk of hackers taking over internet-connected vehicles, a Toyota executive said consumers should be more worried about balding tyres.
Top releases at CES 2016
1 Passenger drone
The Ehang 184 is the first drone that can carry a human. The battery-powered flying machine can carry one person up to 100kg at a height of up to 3,500 metres for 23 minutes at speeds of up to 63mph. That means it can fly you up to 24 miles autonomously.
2 Ninebot Segway
Part personal transporter, part robot companion, the Ninebot Segway can follow you around and recognise voice commands. Ride it into work, press a button and you have a robotic butler to do your bidding.
The aromatic alarm clock diffuses scents into the air to wake you from your slumber from the aromas of coffee, mint or fresh grass to the smell of money but will begin beeping if you dont wake up within two minutes.
4 Sphero Force Band
If having your own mini replica of the fan-favourite BB-8 droid from Star Wars wasnt enough, now you can control it using the force. Or, more precisely, hand gestures, using the new Force Band wrist strap.
5 LG flexible display
Conceived as the technology that will replace paper, LGs latest roll-up flexible screen can display images, text and video.
6 OMbra smart bra
Wearable technology has come to underwear thanks to the OMbra, which tracks heart rate, respiratory rate, distance travelled and calories burned, and can measure states of fatigue while youre training.
7 Oculus Rift
Facebooks virtual reality headset the Oculus Rift has been in development for over three years and is finally ready to buy for £500. It comes with two controllers and two free games, but youll need a powerful PC to run it.
8 Casio Android Wear watch
An Android Wear smartwatch built to military standards. Shockproof and waterproof up to 50 metres, the Outdoor Smart Watch can guide you with a built-in compass and will last up to a month per charge in time-only mode or up to a day with all bells and whistles going.
9 Sony and Technics turntables
Both Technics and Sony released new vinyl turntables at CES this year, offering to play and record your original or new records in glorious hi-res audio. Once the tracks are recorded with vinyl warmth, they can be trimmed and edited using an app.
(CNN)In the last few weeks the two presidential nominees have received their initial intelligence briefings. Although the experience must have been different for each — it was Donald Trump’s first, whereas Hillary Clinton is an experienced intelligence consumer — they were both recipients of a product authorized by President Barack Obama, the intelligence community’s most important customer and the official who more than anyone else controls how intelligence is shared inside and outside the US government.
For years the CIA shielded from public view every single one of the briefings that it produces daily for the president’s eyes only, arguing that even letting go one 50-year old briefing could harm national security.
In this case, Ford made up his mind not to stand in the way of Indonesia’s invasion — an event that would lead to a brutal 25-year occupation causing an estimated 200,000 deaths — a decision he would later tell historian Douglas Brinkley he understandably regretted.
“I mean I truly,” Brinkley quotes him as saying in his fine biography of Ford, “honestly feel for those families which suffered losses. I’m sorry for them. The whole thing was tragic but I only learned the extent to what happened there after I left Washington. Then it was too late.” Not only did Ford read his briefings, he also could admit his big mistakes.
The world of the President’s Daily Brief only got more complicated for a president after 9/11. Not only must you read about what adversarial countries with armies are planning and doing, you have to keep track of dozens of byzantine plots involving shadowy figures with often similar names. And you have to do that six days a week, for four or, if you are lucky, eight years. No wonder presidents seem to age fast.
Modified Ford Fusion test car containing four occupants hit by van jumping red light in Pittsburgh, less than mile from startup Argo AIs headquarters
A self-driving test car from Ford-backed startup Argo was involved in an accident on Wednesday that sent two people to hospital.
The car, a modified Ford Fusion, was struck by a box van running a red light in the East Allegheny area of Pittsburgh. The collision smashed in the doors on the passenger side and blew out the back window, according to local reports.
A Pittsburgh city spokesperson said two of the four occupants of the vehicle were injured and transported to hospital in a stable condition before being released later on Wednesday.
“We’re aware that an Argo AI test vehicle was involved in an accident. We’re gathering all the information. Our initial focus is on making sure that everyone involved is safe,” a Ford spokesperson said in a statement.
It is not yet known whether charges will be filed against the driver of the box van, or whether the Argo car was in self-driving mode at the time of the accident. Ford declined to comment on whether further testing would be suspended, but its team were involved in exhibiting self-driving technology at CES in Las Vegas this week, including an autonomous pizza delivery vehicle made in partnership with Dominos.
Ford invested $1bn into Pittsburgh-based startup Argo AI in February 2016 with plans for creating the self-driving technology to drive the automotive company’s autonomous vehicles.
The crash happened less than a mile away from Argo AI’s headquarters.
Accidents involving self-driving cars have so far been relatively minor, with few producing injuries requiring hospital treatment. A test driver for Google’s self-driving car voluntarily went to hospital after a collision in September 2016, but most incidents, such as the self-driving bus crash in Las Vegas in November, are not much more than fender benders.
This isn’t the first incident involving autonomous vehicles in Pittsburgh, as the home of the US automobile industry has stepped up efforts to promote self-driving car research. In September, an Uber self-driving Volvo XC90, which was being driven by a human at the time, was involved in an accident, grounding the firm’s autonomous testing for several hours.