4x4, SUV, Technology, News

Volvo and Microsoft help you talk to your car

Volvo has teamed up with Microsoft to launch a wearable-enabled voice-control system, which will allow owners to talk to their cars.

Vehicles may be instructed to perform tasks including setting the navigation, starting the heater, locking the doors, flashing the lights or sounding the horn via the Volvo on Call mobile app or the connected Microsoft Band 2 device.

The remote voice control service is described as another proof-point in Volvo's and Microsoft's ambition to jointly develop next-generation automotive technologies, following the announcement in November 2015 of their collaboration with the first automotive application of HoloLens technology. HoloLens is the world's first fully untethered holographic computer, which could be used in future to redefine how customers first encounter, explore and even buy their cars.

"Volvo is intent on making the car experience as easy and convenient as possible by utilising the latest technology in the most relevant and inspiring ways. With voice control, we are only just beginning to scratch the surface of what is possible with digital assistant functionalities," said Thomas Muller, Vice President Electrics/Electronics and E-Propulsion at Volvo Car Group.

Customers in Volvo on Call-enabled markets will be able to connect to their Volvo cars with voice control through Microsoft Band 2, from Spring 2016.

Hatchback, News

Forza Focus RS heads to Gamescom

A unique Ford Focus RS, featuring an exterior designed by players of Forza Motorsport for Xbox has been revealed.

Unveiled at a special Microsoft event ahead of the international 2015 Gamescom - Europe's largest interactive games trade fair event in Cologne - the special Forza Focus RS will feature in the new Forza Motorsport 6 game for the Microsoft Xbox One console.

The one-off Focus RS livery was the winning design from a competition for players of the Forza Horizon 2 open-world racing game, organised by global gaming website IGN. Ford also has teamed up with Microsoft to also feature the all-new Ford GT ultra-high-performance supercar in Forza Motorsport 6, the latest title in the racing simulation franchise for Xbox.

Forza Motorsport 6 makes its European debut at Gamescom before going on sale later this year, and visitors to the event will be able to view the all-new Ford GT - the game's cover star.

The all-new Focus RS is the third generation of Focus RS cars, following models launched in 2002 and 2009. Developed by a global Ford Performance team, the RS features a specially-engineered 350PS 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine, Ford Performance All-Wheel-Drive system and is the first RS to offer selectable Drive Modes - including industry-first Drift Mode - and Launch Control.

The pinnacle of the Ford Performance line-up, the all-new Ford GT uses an aerodynamic carbon fibre body and twin-turbocharged V6 EcoBoost engine to deliver one of the best power-to-weight ratios of any production car. The 'state-of-the-art' Ford GT chassis features an active racing-style torsion bar and pushrod suspension, with adjustable ride height, and carbon-ceramic brake discs.

"In Forza Motorsport 6, racing and gaming enthusiasts all over the world will be the first to experience Ford's new ultra-high-performance supercar, the Ford GT," said Dan Greenawalt, creative director at Turn 10 Studios in Redmond, Washington, U.S. "In Cologne we're excited to showcase the real all-new Focus RS clad in a special paint scheme created by the Forza community. During Gamescom, gamers will also get to see the Forza Motorsport 6 cover-car Ford GT in person."

Gamescom takes place August 5-9.