Tis The Season

Amazon's Ford Bronco merch will have you reaching for your credit card on Cyber Monday

Ford has opened a shop on Amazon selling Bronco merchandise.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Last week, AutomotiveMap told you about the engine that Ford has confirmed will go in the new Bronco. This week, there's more Bronco news. A new Ford Bronco store has opened on Amazon.com with apparel, toys, and accessories that will make enthusiast hearts go pitty-pat.

Arriving just in time for Cyber Monday, here are the coolest items you can shop for in the Ford Bronco store (sorry fellas, no onsies).

1966-92 Ford Bronco Truck Evolution Classic Outline Design Tshirt - $15.99

Ford Bronco Truck Evolution Classic Outline Design Tshirt

Image courtesy of Amazon.com

Bronco design is evolving and while we have yet to see the new Bronco, it's safe to say that it will fit in nicely with the others on this t-shirt. This heavy weight pre-shrunk cotton tee is available in unisex sizes small through 3XL.

Graphics & More Ford Bronco Chrome Logo Dog Pet Bandana - $10.99

GRAPHICS & MORE Ford Bronco Chrome Logo Dog Pet Bandana

Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

This cotton poly blend bandana is perfect for nearly any pup that isn't named Chevy, Dodge, or Ram. It measures approximately 21-inches by 21-inches.

Traxxas TRX-4 Ford Bronco 1/10 Trail and Scale Crawler, Sunset - $459.95

Traxxas TRX-4 Ford Bronco 1/10 Trail and Scale Crawler, Sunset

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

This 1:10 scale model of the Ford Bronco is far less costly than a new (or used) model. Sporting a rad retro color scheme and big, beefy tires, the truck has some of the design and functionality of the real thing. Its differentials operate the high/low range transmission remotely from the transmitter. The model's bumpers and wheels are chrome, and it has side mirrors, wipers, and grille. The Bronco's electronics are waterproof.

Ford Bronco Lightning Bronco Pullover Hoodie - $44.99

Ford Bronco Lightning Bronco Pullover Hoodie

Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

This classic-looking hoodie is available in black, navy, royal blue, and dark heather - all with the same golden Bronco design on the front. Different colors have different Available in unisex sizes small through 2XL.

Dennis Carpenter Ford Restoration Parts1966-1977 Bronco U-Series Tailgate - Compatible with Ford - $425

Dennis Carpenter Ford Restoration Parts1966-1977 Bronco U-Series Tailgate - Compatible with Ford

Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

It could be the tailgate you've been searching for. Or, it could be a really cool piece of office or man cave artwork. This tailgate fits 1966-1977 Ford Bronco U-Series models and was crafted using Ford's original tailgate dies. It's 58 inches wide and 21.5 inches tall and made of OEM-grade rust resistant metal.

Ford has teamed up with Microsoft to study traffic congestion.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Computers are everywhere. We wear them on our wrists, carry them in our pockets, and rely on them to function in a modern world. As computing evolves, automakers like Ford are using high-level technology to work to solve everyday problems.

The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker has partnered with Microsoft to simulate the impact thousands of vehicles traveling has on congestion. They're early in to the project, still developing the quantum computing aspects of the project, which will take the problems of today and scale them to predict the problems of tomorrow. Then, the two companies will use the information to dive deeper into possible solutions to those problems.

"Quantum computing has the potential to transform the auto industry and the way we move," said Julie Love, senior director of quantum computing business development, Microsoft. "To do that we need to have a deep understanding of the problems that companies like Ford want to solve, which is why collaborations like these are so important."

When rush hour happens and congestion picks up, it's not uncommon for drivers to use various apps to change their route using traffic apps like Waze. However, these apps often route drivers the same way, creating congestion on side streets. Ideally, new computing would work to balance those routes to allow the least amount of congestion possible on all streets.

Dr. Ken Washington, Chief Technology Officer, Ford Motor Company described the problem and possible solution in a recent post on Medium.

Simply put, it's not feasible to have traditional computers find the optimal solution from a huge number of possible route assignments in a timely manner. That's where quantum computing can help. Essentially, existing digital computers translate information into either a 1 or a 0, otherwise known as a bit. But in a quantum computer, information can be processed by a quantum bit (or a qubit) that can simultaneously exist in two different states before it gets measured. Upon measurement, however, either a 1 or a 0 appears randomly and the probability for each is governed by a set of rules called quantum mechanics.

This ultimately enables a quantum computer to process information with a faster speed. Attempts to simulate some specific features of a quantum computer on non-quantum hardware have led to quantum-inspired technology — powerful algorithms that mimic certain quantum behaviors and run on specialized conventional hardware. That enables organizations to start realizing some benefits before fully-scaled quantum hardware becomes available.

The partnership between Microsoft and Ford started in 2018 to specifically focus on reducing traffic congestion in Seattle, a city undergoing tremendous rapid growth that is confined in its footprint by waterways and mountains.

The collaboration tested numerous scenarios in their efforts to solve Seattle's traffic congestion, with as many as 5,000 vehicles. Each vehicle in the scenario had 10 different route choices. In 20 seconds, computing software weighed each of those suggestions and delivered a route that resulted in a 73 percent improvement in total congestion compared to traditional route suggestion methods. The result was an eight percent drop in the time of the commute.

Ford remains hopeful that future advances in quantum computing will further the company's mission to work to reduce congestion.

In November, Tesla introduced the Cybertruck.

Photo courtesy of Tesla

Tesla showed off its new Cybertruck ahead of the L.A. Auto Show in November and reaction was mixed (to put it lightly). Consumer sentiment regarding the promise of all-electric trucks from Ford and General Motors has been better received, at least if you use social media as a gauge.

Today, no EVs for sale in the U.S. are trucks, though buyers can put a deposit down on a Cybertruck and a Rivian R1T. An exact timeline for an electric F-150 has yet to be publicly announced. Earlier this year, General Motors announced its electric pickup will go on sale in 2021.

2019 Ford Electric F-150 pickup Ford showed off the capability of an electric truck this year, but it's not the Ford electric truck.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Which company would customers rather buy their electric truck from? Autolist surveyed roughly 1,100 current car shoppers in late November and early December and asked them for their thoughts on the upcoming trucks from Ford, GM, Tesla, and Rivian.

Assuming they all had similar specs and features, GM was the top choice, garnering 29 percent of the vote. Ford got 27 percent while Rivian had 24 percent and Tesla nabbed 20 percent.

"Frankly, these results are good for all four brands," said Chase Disher, analyst at Autolist.com. "It shows that Ford and GM can leverage their considerable -- and existing -- truck followings to boost interest in their EV models. Meanwhile, it shows that Tesla and Rivian could be poised to grab a meaningful share of a crucial new growth segment."

While pickups remain the top-selling vehicle segment in the U.S., there is some indication that an electric pickup would bring new buyers into the segment. Of those surveyed, 50 percent said that they had never owned a truck while 49 percent had. Of those that had never owned a truck before, many considered the Tesla Cybertruck as their top choice with 25.8 percent of the vote. The Rivian R1T (24.8 percent), Ford F-150 Electric (24.7 percent), and GM Electric truck (24.7) followed.

Among those that had owned a truck before, GM was the most popular option with 35 percent of the tally while Ford earned 28 percent, Rivian had 23 percent, and Tesla got 14 percent.