Nothing, not even the fierce Detroit winter can get in the way of the annual exodus of automobile enthusiasts to the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). I love cars, I’ve always been fascinated by them. I can talk confidently about driverless cars and am one hell of a parallel park-er. But if cars were video games, I’d be what you’d call a casual gamer, and maybe that’s why I am here.
To the casual observer, NAIAS 2016 is all about fancy new cars, and for the most part, that’s about right. All the big guns have come out to play with their best foots forward. At least 5 high-end luxury cars were unveiled at the show, and as many concept cars were introduced, teasing a not too distant future in travel.
This event sets the stage for the rest of the year and then some. And even sans an in-depth understanding of what makes cars tick, its pretty evident we have a lot to be excited about.
But there’s more to NAIAS 2016 than meets the eye. It is a critical time for the auto industry, fresh from a record breaking year of car sales, it is a time of much potential and growth. But looming in the shadows is a threat of disruption from the technology sector.
With fully automated, driverless cars almost tangible, and players like Apple and Google in the mix, tech companies are poised to change the game forever as automotive manufactures struggle to keep pace with technological innovations.
Which is understandable, its easier to build a smartphone, than it is to build a car. The average car product cycle is 3-5 years, upgrades are almost impossible unless you buy a new car, and most automotive giants are just not as nimble as a tech startup, or a tech giant with the resources to experiment on some crazy idea that may change the world.
But there is one car company that’s dared to be different. Headquartered not too far from where NAIAS is taking place is the Ford Motor Company, technology savvy, innovation focused, and no longer just a car company anymore.
The self proclaimed mobility company is looking into a host of already existing technological advancements that can make their way into the cars of tomorrow. Beyond driverless cars there’s electrification of vehicles, always-on Internet connectivity, data collection, apps and software, and integration with the Internet of Things.
Smart Home Integration
As the tech world zeroes in on the smart home, Ford believes cars can and should be part of the equation. Very soon, Ford cars will integrate seamlessly with existing smart hubs like Amazon Echo, a virtual personal assistant built into a cylindrical bluetooth speaker. Amazon Echo responds to voice commands and can control household appliances, answer Internet-based questions, and even online shop for you.
Soon Amazon Echo will also be able to start your car, and tell you how far more you can drive based on your current fuel levels. Users will also be able to summon Echo remotely from inside their Ford vehicles, so you could for example, ask it to turn on the lights, or open the garage door as you approach.
Wearables are another growing trend in the consumer tech world and inside Ford’s newly minted Automotive Wearables Experience Lab, scientists are looking into how smartwatches and fitness trackers can best complement the driving experience.
From simple things like receiving alerts on your smartwatch when you leave car doors unlocked or your keys inside. To more high-tech solutions like automatically uploading health and sleep information from your wearable to your car, and having the car adjust safety settings based on its assessment of your current state. If your car thinks you didn’t get enough sleep, Ford’s adaptive cruise control technology can increase the distance between your car and other vehicles to allow more time for your reflexes to kick in case of a traffic incident.
In its own respect Ford is working to make its own cars smarter. A joint project with IBM hopes to create a platform that will allow researchers to collect data from cars, identify trends and patterns, and use those findings to provide commuters with better transportation decisions. The nitty gritty of this platform is way too geeky, but it should theoretically be able to tell you when taking the subway, or a bicycle is a more time efficient means of getting to work on a particular day. The platform should also benefit what Ford calls Parking Prediction technology to help you find empty parking spots.
While as expected, cars were front and center at the North American International Auto Show, Ford was looking beyonds cars. Don’t get me wrong, there were lots of new cars including the new super high-tech Fusion Sedan, the monster F-150 Raptor pickup truck, as well as the first pre-production model of the GT Super Car.
Instead the message was about doing things differently and driving change. As the motoring world is bracing itself for disruption, Ford is on a bold path to disrupt themselves.
5 driving tips for pregnant women
What to do to ensure the safest drive
It’s 2018 and women can drive. And you know what? They can even drive while pregnant. 😎
But, having and growing another person inside of you entails special considerations. To ensure the safest and most comfortable drive, I’ve rounded up a checklist for those expecting.
Make yourself comfortable
Considering you’re driving around an instant two people, make sure you’re comfortable when you get behind the wheel. Being nice and cozy in the driver seat before you head out ensures less distractions when you’re already driving.
Adjust your seat so that you have enough room. We know the right positioning can be a little confusing because of how your body has changed, but as a general rule, your breastbone should be 10 inches from the steering wheel. You can even pack small pillows for your back to make sure it has proper support.
Use the seat belt properly
Yep, it can get tricky. But, here’s how it should go:
Your seat belt should be below your belly bump and the lock should be at your hips. The shoulder belt should run across your breasts to the side of your bump. Remove extra layers like thick jackets to make sure everything is fastened and secured in the right places.
There’s no shame in stopping to take a driving breather. You are carrying another human, so you’re excused. Make sure you stop and pause every 90 minutes for a toilet break. Use this opportunity to rest your feet and relax.
Like a true girl scout, make sure you’ve stocked your car with supplies and much-needed snacks. Always have a bottle of water ready and pick health food you can nibble on ahead of time for your drives. Have all your info with you in the car — including your doctor’s number and pregnancy details — just in case. Also, it helps to plan your routes ahead and schedule your drives.
You know yourself best so before heading out, assess how you feel. Make sure you’re feeling alright and consider how you’ll be feeling in the coming hour. Be honest with yourself and recognize that there might be days when you’re better off not heading out on your own. The best preparation is prevention.
Lastly, congratulations girl! 🎉
Thanks to our friends at Ford for sending over some driving tips and inspiring this piece.
First-ever Ford Ranger Raptor lands in the Philippines
We witnessed why it was named as such
Ford’s rugged truck has finally reached Philippine shores after it was unveiled early this year. Holding the title as the only factory-built performance truck across the region, the Ranger Raptor is targeted towards those looking for a vehicle built tough for your off-road adventures.
One look at this beast and you’ll know it’s not your ordinary pickup. It takes styling cues from the F150 Raptor with the iconic block FORD lettering within the grille design. The front bumper is also installed with fresh LED fog lamps and air-curtain ducts for less wind resistance against the body. Being a true off-roader, its front fenders not only look tough, but Ford says it also resists dents and dings from driving on the road less traveled.
Powering the Ranger Raptor is a new 2.0-liter Bi-Turbo diesel engine that outputs 213PS of power and 500Nm of torque. Ford explains that running with its 2.0-liter Bi-Turbo simply means taking advantage of sequential turbocharging in order to deliver greater responsiveness, drivability, and maximum efficiency. Being a performance vehicle means it should be ready for anything that the road (or lack of it) presents the driver. This is why the Ranger Raptor’s shock absorbers are exclusively manufactured by Fox while its suspension has been crafted to take on rough terrain even at high speeds.
During the launch, the Ranger Raptor showed off for a bit as it raced through the open track. It rained really hard that night so it made the course a lot tougher, but the Raptor pierced right through it and leaped around like it was nothing. We saw why it was named as such.
While it oozes power, this truck has the brains to go with its brawn. It has a Terrain Management System which includes different modes depending on the terrain you’re in. For one, there’s the Baja Mode, inspired by Mexico’s famous Baja Desert Rally. While this mode is activated, it automatically switches to being ultra-responsive and allows off-road driving without being held back. Additionally, the company’s Driver Assist Technologies found their way here including SYNC 3, Hill Start Assist, and more. It’s own Satellite Navigation System even has a “breadcrumb” feature and leaves a trail when entering uncharted areas.
Enough specs and watch it leap, splash, and blaze through the muddy terrain in this video:
The Ranger Raptor is available at all Ford dealerships in the country with a starting price of PhP 1,898,000.
Drive, Eat, Shoot: Exploring the East with the Ford Everest
Who says combining work and play isn’t fun? 🤔
During our participation at the Auto Rally Challenge a few months back, we were lent a Ford Everest to use at the event. We actually had an extra day with it and our group at GadgetMatch decided to set aside our laptops, grab our cameras, and take the Everest to the first destination that came to mind.
Since we had an enjoyable time with it, we thought we’d share our experience with you guys.
You can check out this short clip of our trip shot entirely on Sony’s smartphone.
What we drove was the 3.2-liter Ford Everest Titanium. It’s a midsize SUV great for hauling the family and is packed with safety and comfort features. Being the top of the line variant, it’s the only model with a 4×4 setup so it’s a vehicle that can keep up with your adventures.
Inside, it comfortably seats five people and if you need more, the third row folds out at a press of a button and accommodates up to two more people.
If you find yourself on a long highway stretch, its Adaptive Cruise Control makes for a more relaxing drive so you can take in the scenery around you. Don’t enjoy too much, though, and make sure to still be attentive of the road ahead!
Ford’s SYNC technology lets you play music and read text messages without having to look away from the road. You can do these things through voice commands.
Features like Blind Spot Information and Lane Keeping make sure you only switch lanes when it’s safe. Meanwhile, its Active Park Assist together with proximity sensors help when you squeeze your way through a tight parking space.
A Power Panorama Moonroof also comes with the package. Enjoy a view of the sky or open it for a breath of fresh province air — it’s all up to you.
From the leather-wrapped seats down to the available 230V socket, it’s creature comforts like these that make the Everest an enjoyable ride.
Considering our headquarters in the Philippines is at the east-most border of Manila, we thought it would be exciting to go out of the busy city and see some sights. The province of Rizal made the most sense, so we hopped inside the Everest.
We left around lunch time so the first thing on our itinerary was to look for a place to eat. We wanted none of those fast food chains; we wanted to try something new.
This led us to our first stop: Balaw Balaw Restaurant and Art Gallery in Angono, Rizal.
Angono is known as the Art Capital of the Philippines and is evident in the restaurant. Apart from the dining area, there’s a dedicated space with an abundance of artworks, from paintings and woodwork to sculptures.
The restaurant specializes in Filipino dishes. Although, if one feels adventurous, there’s an exotic corner in the menu with crickets and beef testicles. Unfortunately, none of us felt like going for cow balls during lunch so we went for a safer, more traditional meal.
We got Kalderetang Itik (young duck stew), Balaw-Balaw Fried Rice, grilled chicken, and Minaluto which is basically seafood platter with a mix of fried pork and vegetables.
With our tummies filled and bodies energized, we hopped back on the Everest and off we went for our next destination.
Although we were out on a road trip, we still brought a bit of work with us. We needed to shoot photos for our smartphone reviews and wanted to go for a fresh, new location. We heard the Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo City is photography-friendly and offers an array of contemporary art displays and wide, open spaces.
We were not disappointed. The place is a spacious haven for art, culture, and OOTDs. It has a Greek vibe to it which goes well with the shroud of trees surrounding the area.
A quick tip if you plan to go to Pinto Art Museum: visit on weekdays so there are fewer people. We heard the place can be a little crowded during the weekends and holidays.
Hundreds of artworks are displayed throughout six galleries so be sure to allot enough time going around. We think two to three hours should be enough.
The entire museum is inside a 1.2-hectare property that not only houses paintings and installations, but brightly colored fowls, as well!
We shot what we needed and were ready to go home. But one last stop: We chanced upon this road less traveled and pulled over to bask in the rays of the setting sun. We popped open the Everest’s Power Liftgate and gathered around to hang for a while.
Stories were exchanged, selfies were snapped, and laughs were had. We drove back to our headquarters shortly after and called it a day. That was how our quick trip to Rizal with the Ford Everest went.
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