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Interesting read from the Detroit News today about how Ford's engineers are keeping on-task to make sure the Mach-E arrives in time!

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Ford Motor Co. engineers are keeping the Mustang Mach-E program on track to launch this fall even as the coronavirus pandemic disrupts manufacturing, sales and other business.

As they work from home, the developers have traded team rides in prototype vehicles for recorded video, labs for garages, co-workers for children and office conversation for virtual chats. But the team developing Ford's first battery-electric Mustang SUV says it remains focused on completing the base model's final evaluations and continuing work on other versions.

"There are dogs, kids, there are older family members — that does add some spice to the process," said Rob Iorio, Mach-E vehicle engineering manager. "Everybody is just trying to adapt. Many of us have been working on this Mustang Mach-E for many years. It's in our blood. You can't just hit the pause button."

Neither can Ford when it comes to developing next-generation vehicles that promise to be at least one cornerstone of the automaker's push deep into its second century. Ford has a lot to prove with the Mach-E, says Sam Abuelsamid, an analyst with Navigant Research.

The vehicle is the automaker's vanguard for the electric era and built practically from scratch. Gas prices may be low and the Trump administration is rolling back emissions requirements, but Ford and other automakers like General Motors Co. have made clear their commitments to electric vehicles.

And especially after the launch of the Explorer SUV last year faced manufacturing and quality issues, causing monthslong delays and disappointing 2019 profits for the company, Ford must ensure the introductions of its forthcoming products go smoothly.

"The Mach-E is the embodiment of a whole different way of operation for Ford in terms of product development and represents a fundamental shift in the way Ford works," Abuelsamid said.
"It's really important as a demonstration both to consumers and the financial markets that 'We've learned from our past mistakes. We are ready to move forward.' By executing this program in what is a comparably short time period, it shows that Ford really has changed and they are ready for the future."

Although it might be difficult to run the vehicles in certain scenarios to test suspensions and braking systems, the development team is able to test their electronic architecture and software to ensure all the parts are working properly and reliably. With remote access to most of their usual tools, the developers say they can do almost everything they normally would. Team members took home prototype vehicles to test and from which to gather data.

"If there is a different calibration we want to try, I will jump into the vehicle, the flash goes in, I will take the car around the block, come back, look at the data, and see how things reacted," said Aleyna Kapur, a Mach-E calibrator who works to ensure the hardware, powertrain and software are all communicating with each other. "Maybe I'll get back in the vehicle, tweak a few things, and come back to the desk. It's right there."

The team used to switch prototypes with one another. Ford had provided a sanitization kit to clean down doors handles, steering wheels and other parts of the vehicles, but since Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's stay-at-home order went into effect earlier this month, that practice has stopped. The developers have had to rely on teamwork instead.
"If I need something done in one vehicle," Kapur said, "I follow up with my fellow calibrators, and say, 'Hey, can you grab this data for me? Can you try this out? Can you make sure this diagnostic checks out?' We kind of help each other out at the end of the day. We’re making it work."

They also have to trust each other, Iorio said. Five-person team rides during which the developers would discuss the look, the feel and the operations of the vehicle are no longer a go. Instead, they take photos and video, uploading the too-large-to-email files to Ford's cloud to share the experiences.

"Dynamically, for that," Iorio said, "we have to have an amount of trust and communication for how it feels, how it’s coming along and making the Mustang Mach-E as good as it can be."

Combining work life and home life has other challenges, too. Husein Dakroub, supervisor of the Sync software in the Mach-E's infotainment system, admits his 1- and 3-year-old "assistants" sometimes can be a distraction from working on Sync's displays for navigation, electric vehicle and charging information and other features.

There are the Disney Plus streaming service and games to help, but he also developed a curriculum for his preschool-age daughter; it is focused on math and science, of course.

"That keeps her interested for around 30 minutes," Dakroub said. The children "have their own desks behind me. They poke me. I say they're my continuous second meeting."

For actual meetings, the developers have video conference software to connect in addition to an instant messenger. Some teams have gotten creative to add some levity to the circumstances, calling the virtual attendees to wear hats or sports jerseys or playing music to start off the discussion. Dakroub's 60-member software team one day last week spent their lunch hour on a video conference together. Some employees played guitar and the piano.
"It was a chance to bring back the emotions we used to have in these face-to-face discussions," Dakroub said.

What the experience also shows, Dakroub added, is the importance of businesses having the proper applications and tools in a society that increasingly takes advantage of the internet and technology.

"It's definitely an eye-opening moment for businesses," he said, "in using the opportunities of this cloud-connected world."

 

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Electrek spoke with Robert Iorio, the Mustang Mach-E’s vehicle engineering manager about how his team has been working on the Mach-E from home.


If it were not for the pandemic, his team would be conducting meetings from inside the Mustang Mach-E. “We would be driving four up, or sometimes with someone in the middle, five people all cozy,” he said. That’s where the engineers would experience and discuss topics like road noise or performance.

Instead, this is how the final tuning is happening for attributes like propulsion or charging:

"Propulsion calibrators all have their cars at home. They have their vehicles with laptops on hard-mounted stands. And whether they go on drives or charge at Level One or Level Two, they can collect data. We have a WebEx meeting where they’ll share their data.
We write a lot of our own software. So if you’re a propulsion calibrator, and you work on certain features, let’s say creep, and it’s not doing what you want, you might have certain software changes that you can handle yourself. Or you may need an extra knob not written in the software. So you have a coder that you work with, and you can share what you’re seeing back and forth with them. They can give you a new piece of code, or you can do a peer review.
They’re keeping all their meetings going so they can keep releases moving toward production."

Iorio said, “It’s all really tiny things at this point. Just driving around the block, someone can make an assessment. I’m really excited about how the car ended up.”

Iorio said that he personally took a Mach-E on a 150-mile ride. He said that the team likes to experience charging on brands of public chargers that are less common. “Every manufacturer interprets the standard differently in their software,” he explains.

Teams working on the Ford Sync infotainment system, which has a lot of EV-specific enhancements, brought home entire systems.

"They all brought like their benches home that have the sync screen, or the cluster, and it’s operating in their living room or their dining room. They’re operating the sync screen via their laptop with their editing software. They brought those home so everyone’s doing as much as they can."
 

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Here's another article about how the Mach-E is able on the car from home. CNN talked to one of the Mach-E engineers. There's about a dozen prototypes sitting in people's driveways right now!

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(CNN)When Aleyna Kapur started working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, she had to take a few things from the office: her laptop, some cables and a Ford Mustang Mach-E electric SUV.

The first SUV ever to carry the Mustang name, the Mach-E was unveiled to the public in November. With an emphasis on affordability and performance, the electric crossover is seen as Ford's attempt to take on Tesla. At the time, Ford said the Mach-E would go on sale by fall of this year. But a few months later, on March 13, the pandemic spurred Ford (F) to order its employees to start working from home.

1271


So Kapur and her colleagues brought home more than a dozen pre-production versions of the Mach-E SUVs, as well as computer equipment and other gear so they could keep working from their basements, living rooms, garages and neighborhood streets.

There's still a lot of work left to be done to get the vehicle ready for production by the deadline -- but no one intends to miss it.

Kapur is a calibrator. Her job is to make sure all the computer software controlling the Mach-E's electric motors responds as it's supposed to, under every conceivable circumstance. If done incorrectly, the vehicle might not start and stop smoothly, struggle over different types of terrain, or some parts might overheat or malfunction in extreme weather.

"There are like thousands and thousands and thousands of lines of code written so that way we can optimize the vehicle to respond properly during all these different situations," Kapur explained.

1272


It's one thing for a consultant or a journalist to work at home when all that's needed is a laptop, a phone and an internet connection. But Kapur and her colleagues are working on a roughly 4,500 pound SUV with battery packs holding up to nearly 100 kilowatt hours of energy.

The Mach-E is the first Ford model designed and engineered purely as an electric vehicle. Previously, Ford's electrics have been electric versions of vehicles that were also sold with gasoline engines.

Kapur said she spends, on average, about half her time working at her desk and the other half driving the Mach-E around her neighborhood while recording streams of performance data. It varies, though, from days when she never leaves her desk to whole days spent in the Mach-E.

"Generally, I would say, I'm in the vehicle at least once a day, but there's still quite a lot that we get done online," she said.

The computer she uses at her office is far more powerful than what she has at home, she said, but she can still use a secure Internet connection to access that office machine for more demanding data analysis.

Before the pandemic, when Kapur and her team were working at the office, anyone could jump into any test vehicle. Some of the Mach Es are rear-wheel-drive, some are all-wheel-drive and some have larger, more powerful battery packs than others. Each version requires different software calibrations.

Now, with everyone working from home, each test vehicle is in a different driveway or garage, meaning communication is crucial. Team members must ask one another to run specific driving tests if they need data from a version of the Mach-E they don't have.

"A lot of times we're able to, like, go around the block," she said. "And most of us who have a vehicle are using it to do any sort of necessary errands."

Other engineers are working on the Mach-E's "infotainment" systems, the internal computer screens that have controls for navigation, entertainment and climate settings. They brought home desktop mockups that include the Mach-E's long vertical screen with a circular knob installed at the bottom. They can operate them at their desks as they would in the vehicle.

1273


The designers and engineers working on the Mach-E can be thankful the stay-at-home orders came at this point in the Mach-E's development process. The so-called pre-production vehicles, largely hand-built examples, had already been made. For the most part, the Mach-E just needs some refinements.

But there were some tests that required a test track. Even as Michigan was shutting down, Ford was able to shift some of those tests elsewhere, said Darren Palmer, Ford's electric vehicle development programs.

"We've got facilities all over the world," said Palmer. "And as the different places have different effects from coronavirus we were able to make use of those facilities."

Once this is all over, there remain other crucial tests, like crash tests, which need to be done in controlled environments. With computer modeling, the tests should mostly confirm what the engineers already expect, Palmer said, based on having run virtual tests on computers. Still, the real tests must be done.

"You must do that check," he said, "but you don't expect that you're going to get much change required from those, anymore."

While waiting for access to those test environments, the engineers and designers are working on what they can do from home. Some work is getting completed faster, Palmer said, since people have access to their computers and vehicles at all hours. Employees are driving their test Mach-Es on the weekends when they wouldn't normally have access to them.

However, if the coronavirus lockdown lasts longer than expected, the start of Mustang Mach-E production in the fall of 2020 might need to be delayed, Ford has said.
 

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Here's another article about how the Mach-E is able on the car from home. CNN talked to one of the Mach-E engineers. There's about a dozen prototypes sitting in people's driveways right now!

---

(CNN)When Aleyna Kapur started working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, she had to take a few things from the office: her laptop, some cables and a Ford Mustang Mach-E electric SUV.

The first SUV ever to carry the Mustang name, the Mach-E was unveiled to the public in November. With an emphasis on affordability and performance, the electric crossover is seen as Ford's attempt to take on Tesla. At the time, Ford said the Mach-E would go on sale by fall of this year. But a few months later, on March 13, the pandemic spurred Ford (F) to order its employees to start working from home.

View attachment 1271

So Kapur and her colleagues brought home more than a dozen pre-production versions of the Mach-E SUVs, as well as computer equipment and other gear so they could keep working from their basements, living rooms, garages and neighborhood streets.

There's still a lot of work left to be done to get the vehicle ready for production by the deadline -- but no one intends to miss it.

Kapur is a calibrator. Her job is to make sure all the computer software controlling the Mach-E's electric motors responds as it's supposed to, under every conceivable circumstance. If done incorrectly, the vehicle might not start and stop smoothly, struggle over different types of terrain, or some parts might overheat or malfunction in extreme weather.

"There are like thousands and thousands and thousands of lines of code written so that way we can optimize the vehicle to respond properly during all these different situations," Kapur explained.

View attachment 1272

It's one thing for a consultant or a journalist to work at home when all that's needed is a laptop, a phone and an internet connection. But Kapur and her colleagues are working on a roughly 4,500 pound SUV with battery packs holding up to nearly 100 kilowatt hours of energy.

The Mach-E is the first Ford model designed and engineered purely as an electric vehicle. Previously, Ford's electrics have been electric versions of vehicles that were also sold with gasoline engines.

Kapur said she spends, on average, about half her time working at her desk and the other half driving the Mach-E around her neighborhood while recording streams of performance data. It varies, though, from days when she never leaves her desk to whole days spent in the Mach-E.

"Generally, I would say, I'm in the vehicle at least once a day, but there's still quite a lot that we get done online," she said.

The computer she uses at her office is far more powerful than what she has at home, she said, but she can still use a secure Internet connection to access that office machine for more demanding data analysis.

Before the pandemic, when Kapur and her team were working at the office, anyone could jump into any test vehicle. Some of the Mach Es are rear-wheel-drive, some are all-wheel-drive and some have larger, more powerful battery packs than others. Each version requires different software calibrations.

Now, with everyone working from home, each test vehicle is in a different driveway or garage, meaning communication is crucial. Team members must ask one another to run specific driving tests if they need data from a version of the Mach-E they don't have.

"A lot of times we're able to, like, go around the block," she said. "And most of us who have a vehicle are using it to do any sort of necessary errands."

Other engineers are working on the Mach-E's "infotainment" systems, the internal computer screens that have controls for navigation, entertainment and climate settings. They brought home desktop mockups that include the Mach-E's long vertical screen with a circular knob installed at the bottom. They can operate them at their desks as they would in the vehicle.

View attachment 1273

The designers and engineers working on the Mach-E can be thankful the stay-at-home orders came at this point in the Mach-E's development process. The so-called pre-production vehicles, largely hand-built examples, had already been made. For the most part, the Mach-E just needs some refinements.

But there were some tests that required a test track. Even as Michigan was shutting down, Ford was able to shift some of those tests elsewhere, said Darren Palmer, Ford's electric vehicle development programs.

"We've got facilities all over the world," said Palmer. "And as the different places have different effects from coronavirus we were able to make use of those facilities."

Once this is all over, there remain other crucial tests, like crash tests, which need to be done in controlled environments. With computer modeling, the tests should mostly confirm what the engineers already expect, Palmer said, based on having run virtual tests on computers. Still, the real tests must be done.

"You must do that check," he said, "but you don't expect that you're going to get much change required from those, anymore."

While waiting for access to those test environments, the engineers and designers are working on what they can do from home. Some work is getting completed faster, Palmer said, since people have access to their computers and vehicles at all hours. Employees are driving their test Mach-Es on the weekends when they wouldn't normally have access to them.

However, if the coronavirus lockdown lasts longer than expected, the start of Mustang Mach-E production in the fall of 2020 might need to be delayed, Ford has said.
Imagine driving home and seeing that parked in your neighbors driveway haha.
 

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Here's another article about how the Mach-E is able on the car from home. CNN talked to one of the Mach-E engineers. There's about a dozen prototypes sitting in people's driveways right now!

---

(CNN)When Aleyna Kapur started working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, she had to take a few things from the office: her laptop, some cables and a Ford Mustang Mach-E electric SUV.

The first SUV ever to carry the Mustang name, the Mach-E was unveiled to the public in November. With an emphasis on affordability and performance, the electric crossover is seen as Ford's attempt to take on Tesla. At the time, Ford said the Mach-E would go on sale by fall of this year. But a few months later, on March 13, the pandemic spurred Ford (F) to order its employees to start working from home.

View attachment 1271

So Kapur and her colleagues brought home more than a dozen pre-production versions of the Mach-E SUVs, as well as computer equipment and other gear so they could keep working from their basements, living rooms, garages and neighborhood streets.

There's still a lot of work left to be done to get the vehicle ready for production by the deadline -- but no one intends to miss it.

Kapur is a calibrator. Her job is to make sure all the computer software controlling the Mach-E's electric motors responds as it's supposed to, under every conceivable circumstance. If done incorrectly, the vehicle might not start and stop smoothly, struggle over different types of terrain, or some parts might overheat or malfunction in extreme weather.

"There are like thousands and thousands and thousands of lines of code written so that way we can optimize the vehicle to respond properly during all these different situations," Kapur explained.

View attachment 1272

It's one thing for a consultant or a journalist to work at home when all that's needed is a laptop, a phone and an internet connection. But Kapur and her colleagues are working on a roughly 4,500 pound SUV with battery packs holding up to nearly 100 kilowatt hours of energy.

The Mach-E is the first Ford model designed and engineered purely as an electric vehicle. Previously, Ford's electrics have been electric versions of vehicles that were also sold with gasoline engines.

Kapur said she spends, on average, about half her time working at her desk and the other half driving the Mach-E around her neighborhood while recording streams of performance data. It varies, though, from days when she never leaves her desk to whole days spent in the Mach-E.

"Generally, I would say, I'm in the vehicle at least once a day, but there's still quite a lot that we get done online," she said.

The computer she uses at her office is far more powerful than what she has at home, she said, but she can still use a secure Internet connection to access that office machine for more demanding data analysis.

Before the pandemic, when Kapur and her team were working at the office, anyone could jump into any test vehicle. Some of the Mach Es are rear-wheel-drive, some are all-wheel-drive and some have larger, more powerful battery packs than others. Each version requires different software calibrations.

Now, with everyone working from home, each test vehicle is in a different driveway or garage, meaning communication is crucial. Team members must ask one another to run specific driving tests if they need data from a version of the Mach-E they don't have.

"A lot of times we're able to, like, go around the block," she said. "And most of us who have a vehicle are using it to do any sort of necessary errands."

Other engineers are working on the Mach-E's "infotainment" systems, the internal computer screens that have controls for navigation, entertainment and climate settings. They brought home desktop mockups that include the Mach-E's long vertical screen with a circular knob installed at the bottom. They can operate them at their desks as they would in the vehicle.

View attachment 1273

The designers and engineers working on the Mach-E can be thankful the stay-at-home orders came at this point in the Mach-E's development process. The so-called pre-production vehicles, largely hand-built examples, had already been made. For the most part, the Mach-E just needs some refinements.

But there were some tests that required a test track. Even as Michigan was shutting down, Ford was able to shift some of those tests elsewhere, said Darren Palmer, Ford's electric vehicle development programs.

"We've got facilities all over the world," said Palmer. "And as the different places have different effects from coronavirus we were able to make use of those facilities."

Once this is all over, there remain other crucial tests, like crash tests, which need to be done in controlled environments. With computer modeling, the tests should mostly confirm what the engineers already expect, Palmer said, based on having run virtual tests on computers. Still, the real tests must be done.

"You must do that check," he said, "but you don't expect that you're going to get much change required from those, anymore."

While waiting for access to those test environments, the engineers and designers are working on what they can do from home. Some work is getting completed faster, Palmer said, since people have access to their computers and vehicles at all hours. Employees are driving their test Mach-Es on the weekends when they wouldn't normally have access to them.

However, if the coronavirus lockdown lasts longer than expected, the start of Mustang Mach-E production in the fall of 2020 might need to be delayed, Ford has said.
I have to say, Its been a long time since i envied someone’s job!
 

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Fascinating to say the least:

Here is my question:

I had no idea that so much computer code is necessary: I presently am driving a 2018 Ford Edge Sport and a 2019 E450 Mercedes. The only computer code necessary that I am aware of is the throttle, steering, engine and suspension systems which can be modified between economy, comfort, sport, sport + and individual on my Mercedes and steering and suspension on my Edge Sport.

I would assume that steering and suspension would carry over to the Mach E: what remains is engine and why should that be so difficult?

The EV is substituting an ICE for a battery: It is still a car so why the elaborate computer coding?

What am I missing.
 

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Fascinating to say the least:

Here is my question:

I had no idea that so much computer code is necessary: I presently am driving a 2018 Ford Edge Sport and a 2019 E450 Mercedes. The only computer code necessary that I am aware of is the throttle, steering, engine and suspension systems which can be modified between economy, comfort, sport, sport + and individual on my Mercedes and steering and suspension on my Edge Sport.

I would assume that steering and suspension would carry over to the Mach E: what remains is engine and why should that be so difficult?

The EV is substituting an ICE for a battery: It is still a car so why the elaborate computer coding?

What am I missing.
A lot.

Airbags: The car's acceleration is constantly monitored to determine if an airbag should deploy. From Wikipedia:
Today, airbag triggering algorithms are becoming much more complex. They try to reduce unnecessary deployments and to adapt the deployment speed to the crash conditions. The algorithms are considered valuable intellectual property. Experimental algorithms may take into account such factors as the weight of the occupant, the seat location, seatbelt use, and even attempt to determine if a baby seat is present.
I don't know if you were including traction control, ABS, and the like in your examples above, but there is code running that.

Every "module" in a car is connected to others via a CAN bus. Another example of code is when you are driving down the highway and you push the button to open the automatic liftgate. It doesn't open because a body control module was talking to another module, perhaps a powertrain module, and found the car was not in park.
 

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Thanks:

But the code you are describing to control Traction Control, ABS, air bag, trunk not opening the trunk when you are driving and many others already exist and is ubiquitous.

There are several old sayings that I think are appropriate:

  • Keep it simple stupid
  • If it ain't broke don't fix it
  • Why reinvent the wheel?
 

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Thanks:

But the code you are describing to control Traction Control, ABS, air bag, trunk not opening the trunk when you are driving and many others already exist and is ubiquitous.

There are several old sayings that I think are appropriate:

  • Keep it simple stupid
  • If it ain't broke don't fix it
  • Why reinvent the wheel?
The MMe is a first for Ford, so it makes sense there is so much coding.

New code was needed for the electric powertrain (1 motor, or 2 independent working in unison) , its drive modes and all they influence, battery power management, all of the new driver assistance systems, the door controls, And everything else new introduced with the MMe.

even existing code reused from previous Ford vehicles has to be tweaked to accommodate all the physical characteristics of the vehicle.

Lets not forget the integration with the new Sync 4A system and the respective components ,as well as OTA update and rollback code.

A lot different from my old 1980 Mustang, which was about as intelligent as my current coffee machine. Sometimes i miss the simplicity.
 

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I too miss my 1966 Mustang 280 HiPo GT convertible: something broke: open the hood, plenty of room to work, take out broken part, go either to the Ford or Genuine Parts dealer, identify the part, get a replacement (first making sure it was identical) reinstall part and you are on your way! Never needed to go to the dealership!
 

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A lot different from my old 1980 Mustang, which was about as intelligent as my current coffee machine. Sometimes i miss the simplicity.
I have a programmable grind & brew coffee maker. I’ll bet my coffee maker’s smarter than your 1980 Mustang!

Yep. These Mach Es will have lots of code.
 

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Its great to see that these Mach-E development vehicles being constantly spotted. This is a recent one. Anyone see them?:

black-mustang-mach-e-development-vehicle.jpg
 

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I hope in person the Mach-E looks as good as it does in the pictures!

IMO, blows away the Tesla Model Y.
 

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I hope in person the Mach-E looks as good as it does in the pictures!

IMO, blows away the Tesla Model Y.
Everyone thats actually seen one up close has said it looks better in person.
 
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