Tucked between an avalanche airbag and a 3D desktop printer, a Ford engine and General Motors' crash avoidance system were named two of Popular Mechanics top 10 breakthrough technology award winners for 2012.

Ford's three-cylinder 1.0-liter Ecoboost engine collected one of Pop Mech's honors by providing power through turbocharging and fuel efficiency through its tiny displacement. While the internal combustion engine has been around for more than 100 years, it's not often that it undergoes such a dramatic improvement.

"We placed the bar incredibly high when we set out to design this engine," said Joe Bakaj, Ford vice president, Global Powertrain, in a news release. "We wanted to deliver eye-popping fuel economy, surprising performance, quietness and refinement – and all from a very small three-cylinder engine.

GM's crash avoidance system is a big step toward creating self-driving cars. The system, which debuted in the GMC Terrain, uses a camera mounted near the rearview mirror. It follows the lines on the road to ensure the Terrain stays between them and can detect objects that might be in the way.

While many carmakers are introducing similar systems, Popular Mechanics notes that GM's is "the first practical and cost-effective single-camera vision system for crash avoidance in passenger cars."


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 28 Comments
      Hawili
      • 2 Years Ago
      yah, fiat 0.9 Turbo TwinAir 2 cylinders have comparable power...
      Bruno Martini
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ive seen the ecoboost motors in pieces. Took a look at how they are built. They are built in a very stout manner. I think these engines are nowhere near their performance potential. The 1.6L should be able to handle around 300hp based on the size of the rods, quality of the pistons and the ridiculous amount of webbing in the block. These engines are built like nothing else out there. The 1.6L ecoboost is more compact than anything I have seen so far, and the injectors and pump should be swappable from the 2.0L version making for an easy upgrade. These engines do not suffer from carbon buildup like vag engines do either. To top it off, they are all alu engines with integrated girdles for baring stability with 5 main bearings on the 1.6 & 2.0L and 4 main bearings on the 1L, that are built wide but narrow giving good strength at low friction. I spied that the cranks were heat treated too. The bores are thick and the quality of the iron bore inserts is astounding, the rings do not seat in these engines for thousands of miles. I can make a mile long list on why these engines are great, on paper anyway. However just like all things time will tell.
      PeterScott
      • 2 Years Ago
      Really this isn't that special. 123 HP from a 1 Liter turbo is just about average for turbocharged engines. Guessing EPA numbers never works out. Once real EPA numbers come in, it will look much like Fords NA 1.6 L. Turbos are smaller, but they are also more complex (more to break and more expensive).
        Serenespeed
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PeterScott
        Ford should hire you to be their lead engineer, oh wait... your not smart enough.
        techie69
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PeterScott
        Reliability is the last in their goals to achieve, sales thru mpg which is the flavor of the times! Americans are so short-minded that by the time reliability becomes more important on their shopping lists than looks, entertainment tech,etc...the cars won't be running on the roads and their existence will be forgotten like they never produced them! Maybe if couple of them stick around they will be collectables.
          Hazdaz
          • 2 Years Ago
          @techie69
          I hope you are not stupid enough to claim that turbocharging isn't reliable.
      decke003
      • 2 Years Ago
      How in the hell did the ecoboost beat the 2.0l Skyactiv? The Skyactiv makes 50% more power and has the same freaking MPG...
        • 2 Years Ago
        @decke003
        [blocked]
          decke003
          • 2 Years Ago
          Yeah, my numbers were off on the mpg (as were my displacement %)... if real world numbers are close, then that would be very impressive indeed. power wise however, these engines, despite the numbers, don't appear to be in the same league: Skyactiv Mazda3 0-62: 8.2 Ecoboost Focus 0-62: 11.3
        usa1
        • 2 Years Ago
        @decke003
        The "revolutionary" Skyactiv CX-5 auto gets the same highway MPG as the 2010 Equinox while making 27 less horsepower than the Chevy. BFD.
          GuyClinch
          • 2 Years Ago
          @usa1
          True that - Audi/Volkswagen group have been using DI/Turbo charged engine for years now - and so has Mercedes. I don't see how either the Ford or the Mazda is a 'breakthrough.'
          decke003
          • 2 Years Ago
          @usa1
          The equinox makes 4 mpg less on the city cycle than the CX-5... that is almost a BFD And the data from fuelly.com that suggest the CX-5 gets a full 6 mpg higher than the 4cyl equinox in the real world really is a BFD.
      dalcope
      • 2 Years Ago
      good for lawn mowers
      Jonathan Ippolito
      • 2 Years Ago
      Isn't this the same three cylinder engine that ford recently got to make over 1,000 horsepower in their new racecar ?
        TPGIII
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jonathan Ippolito
        I never saw that, but I did see version with 202hp and 118 mpg at a steady 35 mph. It also managed to rank 11th fastest ever in a Formula Ford at the Nürburgring. http://www.autoblog.com/2012/09/04/ford-builds-sweet-1-0-liter-ecoboost-powered-formula-ford-w-vid/ There has also been numerous reports of a 177 hp version of the 1L Ecoboost being tested for production. http://www.leftlanenews.com/ford-readying-177hp-1-0l-ecoboost.html
        XJ Yamaha
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jonathan Ippolito
        Probably burning alcohol though...
      Randy
      • 2 Years Ago
      Cool. Ecoboost rocks!
      Hazdaz
      • 2 Years Ago
      Is this 1.0L even coming to the US, or as too often the case, the interesting new stuff is only sold elsewhere?? I recall reading about Ford's new 3 banger, but at the time, I think it was still up in the air as to if it was going to be used in USDM cars.
      RON COHEN
      • 2 Years Ago
      THE US NEEDS THIS "BREAKTHROUGH"! I am a retired engineer and have studied this national security issue of oil independence for 6 years and have developed a VISION for the future U.S. vehicle fleet. (This was culminated in a 112 page report.) A major contributor to our glutinous use of gasoline to power today’s fleet of about 250 million cars and light trucks is their weight and the wasteful way they are driven. Therefore there is a drive to go to small, lightweight vehicles, in a big way. However, according to traffic data, this will lead to increased occupant casualties in a crash. Today the average vehicle weighs about 4000 pounds. By adopting HI-TECH features of advanced electronics (I call “E-PRESENCE”*) to assist the driver prevent crashes, we can further reduce weight by taking the full advantage of the lightweight characteristic of aluminum. Thus, by switching to recycled aluminum, the average fleet vehicle weight can be reduced to 1700 pounds. Fuel economy can be further improved with "E-PRESENCE" control to eliminate driver fuel waste and, also, by incorporating a hybrid engine system in the vehicle. These HI-TECH features will REDUCE FLEET FUEL USE BY A FACTOR OF 3 AT 62 MPG (actual). Such great improvement is necessitated by growth in the size of today’s fleet by the time the HI-TECH features are installed in all the vehicles on the road. Decades! Four representative HI-TECH vehicle models of the FUTURE FLEET are as follows: 1. 8 passenger SUV 2820 pounds (curb weight) 30 MPG (actual) 2. 5 “ sedan 1840 “ 47 “ 3. 4 “ “ 1521 “ 69 “ 4. 2 “ coupe 1020 “ 86 “ THE FUTURE FLEET CONSISTS OF A MODEL MIX ABOUT 60% OF SMALL CARS (2 to 4 passenger). The above significant vehicle weight reduction lowers purchase cost even with the added costs of the HI-TECH features. Further cost savings with the lower fuel consumption and lower insurance premiums during the life of the vehicle reduces the 10 year Total Vehicle Ownership Cost by about 45%. Most beneficial, “E-PRESENCE” saves tens of thousands of lives and millions of injuries, every year. These injuries now cause 10% of U.S. hospital patients. These patients cause an annual loss of several hundreds of billions of dollars from our economy. The use of 95% recycled aluminum in over ten million vehicles scrapped and replaced every year saves manufacturing energy and the amount of Landfills - both are environmental issues. * The vehicle is equipped with a “Sense of Presence” by adding virtual driver assistants as back-up. The driver operating signals are sent by wire to the electronic computer/controller of “PRESENCE”, as well as input from a host of sensors. These assistants operate preemptively, if the sensors detect that the driver failed to act in a danger, or by inhibiting a driver operation which would put the vehicle into an unsafe situation. (Excessive use of PRESENCE safety features by the driver is recorded and transmitted.)
      RON COHEN
      • 2 Years Ago
      ANOTHER BREAKTHROUGH? I am a retired engineer and have studied this national security issue of oil independence for 6 years and have developed a VISION for the future U.S. vehicle fleet. (This was culminated in a 112 page report.) A major contributor to our glutinous use of gasoline to power today’s fleet of about 250 million cars and light trucks is their weight and the wasteful way they are driven. Therefore there is a drive to go to small, lightweight vehicles, in a big way. However, according to traffic data, this will lead to increased occupant casualties in a crash. Today the average vehicle weighs about 4000 pounds. By adopting HI-TECH features of advanced electronics (I call “E-PRESENCE”) to assist the driver prevent crashes, we can further reduce weight by taking the full advantage of the lightweight characteristic of aluminum. Thus, by switching to recycled aluminum, the average fleet vehicle weight can be reduced to 1700 pounds. Fuel economy can be further improved with "E-PRESENCE" control to eliminate driver fuel waste and, also, by incorporating a hybrid engine system in the vehicle. These HI-TECH features will REDUCE FLEET FUEL USE BY A FACTOR OF 3 AT 62 MPG (actual). Such great improvement is necessitated by growth in the size of today’s fleet by the time the HI-TECH features are installed in all the vehicles on the road. Decades! Four representative HI-TECH vehicle models of the FUTURE FLEET are as follows: 1. 8 passenger SUV 2820 pounds (curb weight) 30 MPG (actual) 2. 5 “ sedan 1840 “ 47 “ 3. 4 “ “ 1521 “ 69 “ 4. 2 “ coupe 1020 “ 86 “ THE FUTURE FLEET CONSISTS OF A MODEL MIX ABOUT 60% OF SMALL CARS (2 to 4 passenger). The above significant vehicle weight reduction lowers purchase cost even with the added costs of the HI-TECH features. Further cost savings with the lower fuel consumption and lower insurance premiums during the life of the vehicle reduces the 10 year Total Vehicle Ownership Cost by about 45%. Most beneficial, “E-PRESENCE” saves tens of thousands of lives and millions of injuries, every year. These injuries now cause 10% of U.S. hospital patients. These patients cause an annual loss of several hundreds of billions of dollars from our economy. The use of 95% recycled aluminum in over ten million vehicles scrapped and replaced every year saves manufacturing energy and the amount of Landfills - both are environmental issues.
      Tahoe
      • 2 Years Ago
      Has there been any update as to when the Ecoboost 3 and 4 cylinder engines will be available in crate form?
    • Load More Comments