Automotive

Innovation Invasion

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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.

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Behind the blue oval. The Ford booth at the 2016 North American International Auto Show.

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

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Sync 3 brings Amazon Echo and Alexa 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.

Wearable Integration

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Soon smartwatches and fitness trackers will integrate better, and smarter with our cars.

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.

Data Analytics

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.

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Journalists swarm around the newly announced Ford vehicles after the Ford keynote at the North American International Auto Show.

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.

VLOG: Gorilla Glass on a Car

They’re on plenty of smartphones, but have you heard of Gorilla Glass windshields? #FordNAIAS

Posted by GadgetMatch on Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Automotive

All the essential gadgets you’ll ever need for a glamping trip

Visiting Chile with Nicole Scott of MobileGeeks!

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Traveling is a great deal of fun but packing the right gear can be a headache. So, I called for reinforcements.

I spoke with Nicole Scott, all-around traveler and co-founder of MobileGeeks, and asked her what her travel essentials are.

Nicole is always on the road which means she does everything while she’s traveling. She walked us through her last trip to Chile where she went glamping in the desert. These are her must-haves.

Some wheels to get there

The destination is the Atacama Desert, the driest on the planet. To get to the glamping spot, you need a ride.

For the few minutes drive from San Pedro to Atacama Loft & Glamp, the Audi Q8 is Nicole’s vehicle of choice. The Q8 has a host of smart features, and most importantly…

… it has wireless charging built in!

A phone to take photos with

In this area, there’s barely any reception. But these days, phones are still useful even without cell signal.

Nicole brought along her HTC U12+ for photo-taking purposes.

Working on the go

Since she’s always moving, Nicole is used to working on the go. She brings her Microsoft Surface Book everywhere. 

An external battery pack is also a must-have — this means an extra two hours of laptop time without having to plug into an actual electric socket.

Part of her setup is working with a mouse — Nicole shoots and edits, too. Her weapon of choice? The Microsoft Surface Arc.

Now, enough about work!

Adding some background music

A good pair of headphones is always a great idea when traveling, or when you’re horseback riding through the desert like Nicole.

These TaoTronics Bluetooth earphones are her favorite because they have great sound quality despite being pretty affordable.

Taking time to meditate with the scenery

Nicole always has her Fitbit Versa on her and on trips like this, it proves pretty useful.

She uses the Relax function to take time out of her day and enjoy the beautiful desert sights with breathing exercises.

Watch Nicole’s full video here:

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Automotive

Honda offers limited edition City, BR-V, and Odyssey

Comes with a major discount, too

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Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. is proud to introduce limited edition variants of the new City, BR-V, and Odyssey. These souped-up models offer additional features, safety systems, and even discounts.

Adding to its slew of features, the new Honda City 1.5 Sport CVT has two new front tweeters for improved audio and entertainment experience. It is also equipped with new front, side, and rear under spoilers for a sportier look while a Sport Edition Emblem has been added to set it apart from the basic model.

This limited edition variant will be available for a suggested retail price of PhP 898,000 and will come in Modern Steel Metallic, Taffeta White, and Ruby Red Pearl.

The second best-selling model in the Philippines following the Honda City, the seven-seater BR-V 1.5 Touring CVT boasts fuel efficiency and new exterior features. This includes a tailgate spoiler, daytime running lights, shark fin antenna, and parking sensors to make backing up easier and safer.

It will be available for PhP 1,058,000 in Modern Steel Metallic color, Taffeta White, and Lunar Silver Metallic.

Last but definitely not the least, the luxury seven-seater minivan Odyssey EX-V CVT gets an exclusive variant with only 45 units available for sale. This package includes full leather interior, cradle captain seats with ottoman, and a lineup of driver assistive technology features.

For PhP 2,428,000, it will be available in Platinum White Pearl, Crystal Black Pearl, and Super Platinum Metallic.

To further sweeten the deal, Honda Philippines is offering to slash off PhP 50,000 to encourage customers to take advantage of the offer. Interested buyers may place reservations at any of the 38 Honda dealerships in the country.

SEE ALSO: New Honda Civic Type R arrives in PH

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Automotive

Ford Ranger Raptor now up for pre-orders

Be one of the first to own it

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Ford’s factory-built performance truck is now up for pre-orders at dealerships in the Philippines.

Launched earlier this year at a grand event in Thailand, the Ranger Raptor combines Ford Performance DNA with the Ranger’s tough constitution. It’s thought to be a motocross bike, snowmobile, and an ATV rolled into one macho pickup truck.

With a capable diesel engine, terrain management system, and a host of safety features, Ford’s truck is a promising package for the rough riders. Color palettes include Lightning Blue, Race Red, Shadow Black, Frozen White, and Conquer Grey.

Those who want to get first dibs on the Ranger Raptor can pre-order now by contacting or visiting any Ford dealer in the country. Pricing is still undisclosed but will be revealed closer to its launch date in the third quarter of this year.

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