In testing the durability of its upcoming fullsize Transit vans, Ford has begun using autonomous robotic technology to pilot vehicles through the punishing courses of its Michigan Proving Grounds test facility. The robots allow Ford to run more durability tests in a single day than it could with human drivers, as well as create even more challenging tests that wouldn’t be safe to run with a human behind the wheel.
The technology being used was developed by Utah-based Autonomous Solutions. Ford’s autonomous test vehicles follow a pre-programmed course and their position is tracked via GPS and cameras that are being monitored from a central control room. Though the route is predetermined, the robotic control module operates the steering, acceleration and braking to keep the vehicle on course as it drives over broken concrete, cobblestones, metal grates, rough gravel, mud pits and oversize speed bumps.
This weekend on PowerBlock, Courtney is joined by Bully Dog president Michael Klassen with some tuner numbers you Hemi owners will love! Michael will announce their new tune for cars and trucks with Hemi’s. It’s been 2 years in the making! They expect you’ll see about 20-plus extra horsepower with better drivability. Bully Dog also has a new tune for 2011, 2012 and 2013 Jeeps.
But the big news is with the downloader for professional big rig trucks. Trucks! did a test with Pilot Transportation that showed a 15% increase in fuel economy and an 18% increase in horsepower. So if the average rig drives a 120,000 miles a year at $4 diesel fuel, that’s more than $12,000 a year savings per truck! Check it out on PowerBlock February 16 & 17. For more go to BullyDog.com
This weekend Snow Performance president Matt Snow is PowerBlock’s guest. He’ll announce the results of a new lab study and how water-methanol injection can add 70 horsepower to a diesel, increase fuel economy 12-30%, and lower EGT’s using his system… and it doesn’t leave a signature on the computer! Plus he brings his 2012 Ford F-350 test rig too. Check it out on The PowerBlock September 15th & 16th. For more on Snow Performance go to SnowPerformance.net
This weekend on PowerBlock Courtney features two Nissan Leaf all electric race cars! Ron Stukenberg, Senior Manager for Nissan Motorsports, brings the Nissan Leaf that won its division at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb and a NISMO Leaf RC. The RC stands for racing competition and it could be the future of racing. It goes zero to 60 in 6.8 seconds and only weighs 2000lbs. It’s 100% electric so there’s no emissions, no CO2 gases or noisy exhaust. The other Leaf is completely stock except for a rollcage, fire extinguisher and more aggressive tires and wheels. Off road driver Chad Hord drove it up the 12 mile, 156 turn course in a time of 14:33. The race finishes at 14,110 feet and higher altitude means less performance for an internal combustion car. But the electric Leaf had no loss of power. Check it out on PowerBlock January 28 & 29. For more go to NissanUSA.com/Performance