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Manufacturer tech news

Automotive manufacturers are constantly changing and upgrading their technology to be the best vehicle providers. Recently companies such as Ford, Volvo and Honda are changing up their gear.


Ford drops Microsoft Sync for Blackberry tech


Ford Motors Co are ditching their current Microsoft Windows-based Sync infotainment system which is used in cars like the new Ford Focus, in favour of a new system from Blackberry. Any new Ford Sync systems will now run on the Blackberry QNX platform. This is in part because it is cheaper to run than Microsoft technology and also as it promises to improve the flexibility and speed of Ford's infotainment tech. The Blackberry QNX system is already available in some Audis and BMWs. It was created by a company called QNX Software Systems before Blackberry bought it.


The change comes as Ford's equipment is falling behind it's competition, with even Ford admitting that the quality of it's vehicles has been mixed over the past three years and it had failed to deal with those issues in 2013.


Over 7 million Fords currently use the Microsoft-based Ford Sync system, which allows drivers to make phone calls and play music using voice commands. It can also help with calling the emergency services in the event of an accident, and deliver GPS coordinates of the incident location.


Increasing demand for connectivity means the Ford is dedicated to improving it's Sync technology, as 39% of car buyers prioritise in-car technology according to a study by consulting firm, Accenture.


New Volvo tech lets shopping be delivered to your car


Volvo's 'Roam Delivery' tech means consumers can now get items such as food delivered to their car. The new system means that car owners will be able to choose their car as a delivery option when ordering goods online. The car owner will be informed through their smart-phone or tablet, when the delivery company wants to drop off or pick up something from the car.


In order to access the vehicle when car owners are not present, Volvo have created a 'digital key' which will allow the delivery company to open and lock a car just once. After this, the digital key will cease to exist.


The latest development is based on the telematics app Volvo On Call, which makes it possible to remotely heat or cool a car and see it's position or fuel level through a smart-phone.


Group CIO at Volvo Car Group, Klas Bendrik, commented, “By turning the car into a pickup and drop-off zone through using digital keys we solved a lot of problems since it’s now possible to deliver the goods to persons and not to places. The test-customers also indicated that the service clearly saved time. And the same thing is valid for delivery companies as well! Because failed first-time deliveries cost the industry an estimated €1billion in re-delivering costs. We are now further investigating the technology of digital keys and new consumer benefits linked to it.”


The Volvo 'Roam Delivery' service is set to be demonstrated at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on February 24th.


Honda creating 3.5 litre racing engine


Honda is following Ford's lead and debuting the second twin-turbocharged V6 to be used by Daytona Prototypes in the United Sports Car Championship. The engine will debut with the Starworks Motorsport team in a Riley Gen3 prototype chassis at the 12 Hours of Sebring from March 12-15.


The new HR35TT engine is based on Honda's J35 production V6 found in a variety of it's models, such as the current Accord. The racing version benefits from dry sump lubrication but is still similar to the prouction version with it's aluminium block, direct injection and single overhead camshafts, It is fuelled by 100-octane E10 fuel, but like many racing engines, exact power figures have not been released.


Starworks has had a relationship with Honda since it won the LMP2 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and in the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2012 with a Honda Performance Development ARX-03b chassis and Honda engine.


With the recent technology changes being so varied, who knows what the car manufacturers will do next?

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