New automotive program

The Grand Tour returns soon with new special

A new special drops on December 17.

The Grand Tour - Amazon

The Grand Tour is returning, and soon. Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hamond, and James May set out in Carnage a Trois, the second special produced during the COVID-19 pandemic. French cars are the subject of this special, and there looks to be plenty of action and potentially hilarious situations. Amazon Prime subscribers can watch the new special on Prime Video starting December 17.

Due to travel difficulties and a general state of worldwide unease, the trio have stayed close to home. The first special, Lochdown, took place in Scotland and this one in Wales. Though James May confirmed that a special in Russia is still a possibility, global travel conditions are still tough and unpredictable.

The Grand Tour Presents: Carnage A Trois | Official Trailer | Prime Video youtu.be

The Grand Tour premiered in late 2016 after the three hosts' relationship with the BBC ended. For three seasons, the show followed a similar format to Top Gear, which was created by Clarkson and his partner, Andy Wilman. At the end of season three, the trio announced that the show's familiar format would move from the studio tent to the field, where all subsequent episodes would be the longer travel specials that the three are best known for.

The announcement of the new special made its rounds on social media, where reactions (as always) were mixed. Some say the show is too scripted now and that it's just not fun anymore, but many disagree. At this point, with the hosts' ages and difficulties producing media of any kind, it's a bonus to have a car-oriented show, scripted or not.

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Ford PowerUp brings technology updates to existing vehicles.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford PowerUp has launched, bringing with it the ability to keep vehicles up-to-date with the latest software technology, so long as their systems can handle it.

"Software updates are common across billions of connected devices but not yet for vehicles. Ford Power-Up software updates will change that by quickly bringing it to millions of people," says Alex Purdy, director, business operations, enterprise connectivity, Ford Motor Company. "We've invested in more seamless technology so updates can happen while you're sleeping – making your next ride a better experience."

Introducing Ford Power-Up | Innovation | Ford www.youtube.com

The first PowerUp updates happened in March. Ford F-150 and Mustang Mach-E customers were the beneficiaries. Now the company is accelerating the program pushing out over-the-air updates to over 6 million vehicles already on the road. In order to receive those updates, vehicles must have an embedded modem. Nearly all new models have the feature.

The wireless upgrades enhance features, quality, experiences, capability, and convenience. The fresh technology is able to update the vast majority of vehicle computer modules – more than 110 on higher end models – and reduce the need for a trip to the dealership for service.

As part of the PowerUp rollout, Ford is also adding embedded Amazon Alexa to vehicles with three years of free connectivity. The voice command functionality allows users to be connected to their vehicle as well as the Amazon services in their home.

At first, 700,000 vehicles in the U.S. and Canada will get the tech with millions more to follow. The first models to get connected will be Bronco, Edge, F-150, Mustang Mach-E, and Super Duty that are equipped with SYNC 4 technology.

"Democratizing technology and putting it within reach of millions of customers has been a part of Ford's DNA dating back to the Model T, and our new collaboration is a continuation of that legacy," says Ned Curic, vice president, Alexa Automotive. "We can't wait for Ford customers to experience the best of what Alexa and voice AI can do while on the road – including new features and capabilities that will be delivered seamlessly through future over-the-air software updates. We love the vote of confidence from Ford to deepen our work together and continue making the driving experience more connected, entertaining, and productive."

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New Amazon Fire TV for Auto technology is debuting in the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer.

Photo courtesy of Stellantis

The Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are set to be unveiled soon. Ahead of those debuts, Jeep has announced that those vehicles will be the first in the industry to integrate Amazon Fire TV for Auto.

Amazon Fire TV for Auto will give Wagoneer family occupants access to their favorite shows, movies, apps, unique vehicle features, and Alexa. It will communicate directly with the SUV's Uconnect 5 infotainment operating system. Just like in other Amazon devices, content syncs with an existing Amazon account. This means that customers will be able to pause a show in their home and seamlessly continue watching once they get into their vehicle.

"The all-new 2022 model-year Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are designed and engineered to set a new standard for American premium in the large SUV segment," said Christian Meunier, Jeep® Brand Chief Executive Officer - Stellantis. "Launching Fire TV for Auto as an industry-first technology to the Wagoneer lineup illustrates one of the many ways we intend to deliver class-leading technology and connectivity to our customers."

Amazon The screen for Amazon Fire TV for Auto looks very similar to what you'd see on a TV at your home.Photo courtesy of Stellantis

Amazon

Fire TV for Auto builds on the Fire TV experience that exists today with unique features that include:

  • Passengers can view Fire TV in high definition from the rear seats and the front passenger screen (a privacy filter disables driver viewing). When the vehicle is in park, the driver also can view Fire TV on the main Uconnect 5 screen
  • Touchscreen controls and support for compatible content can be downloaded on trips where wireless service is limited or to save on data
  • A Fire TV for Auto-specific remote provides control of the experience and includes push-to-talk access to Alexa, making it easy to find and quickly play shows
  • The remote includes a button that connects Fire TV with the new Uconnect 5 system for control of vehicle features, such as climate, maps and more

"We reimagined Fire TV for the automobile with a purpose-built experience that delivers the best in entertainment, anywhere you go," said Sandeep Gupta, Vice President and General Manager of Amazon Fire TV. "With Fire TV built in, customers can stream their favorite shows, see if they left the lights on at home with Alexa, and take advantage of unique controls through the Uconnect system."

Fire TV for Auto will be packaged with other connected services and made available in fall 2021 in Canada, Mexico and the United States.

This isn't the first time a Stellantis company has been on the cutting edge of in-vehicle tech. Jeep's stablemate, Ram, was the first to integrate SiriusXM 360L into a vehicle, its 2019 Ram 1500.

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