Ford updates its Taurus sold only in China

Ford ended production of the Taurus for North America just this month, but the nameplate lives on in China where Ford’s been selling a next-generation model since 2015.

The Chinese-market Taurus is based on a stretched version of the CD4 platform found in the Fusion, as opposed to the outdated D3 platform that underpinned our Taurus, and it’s positioned as a bit of a luxury cruiser. It even offers power-reclining rear seats complete with massage function.

Photos of an updated version of the Chinese-market Taurus have now surfaced ahead of a debut at April’s Auto Shanghai 2019.

2019 Ford Taurus (Chinese spec) - Image via Sohu

2019 Ford Taurus (Chinese spec) – Image via Sohu

The photos, which were posted on Chinese website Sohu, only show the exterior of the car, revealing a new shape for the front grille and new lights at both ends. The front and rear fascias have also been redesigned.

Sohu reports that the updated car will be fitted exclusively with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 delivering 244 horsepower. The current car features the 2.0-liter engine as well as a 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 with 325 hp. The demise of the V-6 suggests Chinese buyers aren’t seeking performance in the car, Taurus SHOs be damned.

We’ll have more details soon as the Shanghai auto show starts on April 16. Don’t get your hopes up though, as Ford has ruled out all passenger cars here bar the Mustang, meaning the latest Taurus isn’t destined for local showrooms. For more Shanghai auto show coverage, head to our dedicated hub.

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Tesla’s Sentry Mode will feature location-based activation options, says Musk

Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently announced some new details for Sentry Mode, outlining the activation options of the newly released security feature. According to Musk, Tesla will be giving owners the choice to engage or disengage Sentry Mode depending on the vehicle’s location.

Taking cues from the Tesla community, Musk noted that Sentry Mode will have the following options: “Always,” “Exclude Home,” “Exclude Work,” “Exclude Saved Locations,” “Ask,” and “Off.” These options will make Sentry Mode far easier to use for electric car owners, especially since the feature required manual activation every time it was used when it was initially rolled out last month.

Based on Elon Musk’s tweet, Sentry Mode will give electric car owners the option of using location-based data to determine where the security feature should be activated. Such options will likely be appreciated by the Tesla community, considering that the company already utilizes location-based data for some of its vehicles’ features, including Smart Air Suspension for the Model S and Model X, and location-based auto folding mirrors for cars like the Model 3. With this system in place, Tesla owners need not worry that their vehicles will go full “Alarm” state while they are at home or at work.

Following reports of break-ins in the United States that appear to be specifically targeting the company’s electric cars, Elon Musk pledged to roll out a system that would help owners keep their vehicles safe. The result was Sentry Mode, a security system which uses the vehicles’ suite of sensors, lights, and speakers to potentially deter threats. Video feeds from the electric cars’ suite of cameras also allowed owners to take recordings of incidents around their vehicles.

Sentry Mode is a pretty robust security system that addresses a very serious issue. Nevertheless, Tesla has still managed to include some fun, pop culture references to the feature. Upon activation, Sentry Mode is represented by the glowing red “eye” of 2001: A Space Odyssey‘s AI villain, HAL 9000. A loud blast of classical music also greets would-be thieves once the security feature enters its “Alarm” state.

Several improvements have already been rolled out for Sentry Mode since it was released last month. Since its initial release, Sentry Mode has become more integrated with the Tesla mobile app. Footage recorded from the vehicles’ cameras could also be sent to Tesla for temporary backup.

Tesla’s Sentry Mode will feature location-based activation options, says Musk

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Tesla’s in-car web browsing experience to get a boost with Chromium

A recent announcement from Tesla CEO Elon Musk has teased that a faster, better in-car web browser will be rolled out to the company’s fleet of electric cars in the future. In a post on Twitter, Musk noted that Tesla’s in-car web browsers are “about to be upgraded to Chromium,” referring to the open-source relative of Google Chrome, arguably the most popular browser on the internet today.

Chromium and Google Chrome are practically joined at the hip. While it could easily be dubbed as the open-sourced sibling of Google Chrome, Chromium is also the project that generates the source code used by the popular web browser. Google kicked off the Chromium project the same time it launched the Chrome browser in 2008, and it has since evolved, thanks to input from individuals both from and outside the tech giant.

Computerworld dubs Chromium as the “ancestor of Chrome,” and in a way, this is accurate, since the latter has been augmented with proprietary code from Google. Chromium remains incredibly relevant until today, with an open source project dubbed Chromium OS being the foundation of Chrome OS, the operating system that powers Google’s ubiquitous Chromebooks.

Tesla’s electric cars are equipped with web browsers, though the user experience of the feature has mostly left much to be desired. Before improvements were rolled out last year, the in-car browsers in the Model S and Model X were next to useless, simply because they were just far too slow (a controlled test showed that it took 48.32 seconds before the in-car web browser loaded the official Tesla website).

Tesla eventually introduced updates last April to vehicles that are both equipped with older and newer Media Control Units (MCU), which improved users’ web experience. Yet, despite these updates, Tesla’s in-car browsers (including those in the Model 3) remain relatively slower compared to those found in devices such as smartphones and tablets.

The arrival of Chromium would most likely result in an improved web experience for Tesla owners, which will all but establish the company’s electric cars as among the most advanced tech devices in the world, bar none. There’s just something paradoxical about the Model S being one of the most technologically advanced machines on the road being relatively slow to load web pages, but with Chromium in the picture, this paradox will most certainly get addressed.

A fast, stable web browser will likely be a key feature for Tesla when it starts rolling out the functions of its Full Self-Driving suite. With drivers not actively operating the vehicle, activities such as web browsing will most definitely be prevalent for drivers and passengers alike. A browser that is worthy of Tesla’s tech will be key to this end.

Tesla’s in-car web browsing experience to get a boost with Chromium

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