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Advanced Ford Technology - Work in Progress

SMART DRIVING & VEHICLE MAINTENANCE CAN MAXIMIZE FUEL ECONOMY With the U.S. Memorial Day Weekend traditionally signaling the start of the summer travel and vacation season, drivers can stretch their fuel dollars through smart driving and vehicle maintenance. Ford experts Andy Acho, director, Environmental Outreach and Strategy, and Saad Jamoua, manager, Fuel Economy Engineering and Performance Feel, have some practical suggestions on how to get the most out of every fuel fill-up. From things like maintaining proper tire pressures and minimizing engine load to implementing a smart, smooth driving style, their suggestions can mean dollars for fun vs. fuel.

'PICTURE PERFECT' - VIRTUAL ALUMINUM CASTINGS SAVES TIME & MONEY Picture a process that can produce a perfect result on the first try. Ford's Virtual Aluminum Castings technology is doing just that. Computer-aided modeling and analysis is allowing Ford researchers to evaluate and improve the microstructure and properties of cast aluminum engine blocks and heads, before the first prototype is even produced. The result is a high quality, durable block or head from a first-time casting. Put into use on components for variety of engines, Virtual Aluminum Castings is saving Ford $10 to $20 million annually.

FORD TEST AUTO ELECTRONICS THAT SERVE AND PROTECT COMMUNITIES Envision a routine traffic stop where the responding officer can't see an armed occupant exiting the passenger door. Yet miles away in police headquarters, a dispatcher can see what's happening via camera images transmitted from the patrol vehicle and alert the officer or send additional support. That kind of camera use may be years away in routine police work, but the enabling technology is here today, thanks to Ford researchers. At the Dearborn Heights (Mich.) Police Department, Ford has equipped two Crown Victoria police cruisers with cameras that can send images from the cars to the station every 15 seconds. They also have sensors, which can transmit road and atmospheric conditions as well as automatic crash notification to the control center. Ford is involved in advanced vehicle digital mobility demonstration projects in several communities globally, including Michigan; and Minnesota and Germany, where real-time rerouting to car navigation systems is being tested successfully.

SINGLE-CYLINDER OPTICAL ENGINE SHINES LIGHT ON COMBUSTION Achieving top performance and maximum fuel efficiency in every gasoline or alternative-fuel powered vehicle is an unending quest in the automotive world. At Ford, researchers are taking a new look at how this equation balances — one cylinder at a time – with its innovative, single-cylinder optical engine. Using transparent engine components and cameras, the engine is coupled to a computer that registers the spray and combustion in colorful and technically exact displays. This allows Ford researchers to extract data and see how the cylinders in existing and future engines perform, experimenting with new techniques and configurations to maximize fuel efficiency and performance.

FORD'S VIRTUAL BUILD YIELDS REAL-LIFE RESULTS Automotive assembly workers 'ain't' what they used to be! The stereotypical brawny male has long been replaced by a myriad of skilled workers – women and men – of all sizes and statures and a wide range of ages. In fact, the average age of the Ford assembly line worker in the United States is going up – from 43.7 years old in 2000 to 45.3 years old today. To best provide for employee comfort and prevent repetitive work injuries, Ford Motor Company is employing digital 3-D versions of assembly line workers, dubbed "Jack and Jill," to help design optimal assembly line work spaces. Jack and Jill are computer-generated workers representing six body sizes -- three men, three women -- ranging from a petite woman to the brawniest man. On the virtual plant floor, ergonomic engineers put 3-D employees through the motions of performing various assembly-line jobs, testing for strength, fatigue, posture and reach ability. The most recent applications of this modeling can be seen on the assembly line at Hermosillo (Mexico) Stamping and Assembly Plant, where the new Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan and Lincoln Zephyr will be built in fall 2005.

May 24, 2005