A couple saved a Michigan wedding reception during a power outage by plugging the lights and music speakers into their Ford F-150 hybrid pickup truck.
Harish Thiruvengadam and Swetha Shailendra, two married Ford engineers, stepped in to save the party when the power cut out at the August 11 wedding at around 10 p.m., The Detroit Free Press first reported.
Stormy weather had already delayed the Farmington Hills reception by nearly two hours, according to the report.
“The groom was ready to call it a night. There was no other option. Then I remembered the PowerBoost,” Thiruvengadam, a mechanical engineer at Ford, told The Detroit Free Press. “I backed the truck up onto the lawn, took the cords, and stretched them across the lawn.”
Shailendra works as an advanced connected vehicle engineer at Ford, per the report.
Thiruvengadam plugged multiple cables for the outdoor lights and sound system into power strips, which he then hooked up to the pickup truck’s outlets. The couple had already used their truck to power some appliances at their home a few days earlier during another blackout, they told the publication.
This is not the first time a Ford F-150 hybrid truck has helped restore power during an outage. Randy Jones, another F-150 owner, used the vehicle to power his Texas home during blackout in February. He told Fox Business that he ran the generator for 10- to 12-hours a day over a three-day period, powering a refrigerator, freezer, and TV, as well as other appliances.
This includes Lance King, the CEO of Stream It, a software and artificial intelligence company that’s now pivoting to create attachments that can turn Cybertrucks into a pop-up tiny homes on wheels.
Yes, you read that right. A tech company is now making pickup truck campers, or “Cyberlandrs.”
The production of Tesla’s infamous Cybertruck may have been pushed back from 2021 to 2022, but that’s not stopping Stream It from “ramping everything up,” King told Insider.
King first thought of the idea when he was preordering a Cybertruck and realized no existing RV or camper could be compatible with the futuristic truck’s body.
“[The RV industry] hasn’t innovated in 50 years,” King said. “They’re not going to get a stroke of genius and create a new RV. And I thought, ‘who could do it?'”
It turns out the answer is himself and his Stream It team.
“The only company I can think of that could do that is my company,” King said. “We’ve got the software developers, we’ve got the AI, and we’re really creative. We wanted it to be a Tesla-like experience even when you were in a RV.”
According to King, a “true Tesla level RV” needs strong software that’s capable of artificial intelligence and yearly updates, similar to Tesla’s vehicles.
So towards the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, in the face of potential layoffs, King decided to put his team to work designing the CyberLandr.
Prior to this project, the company had never worked in the RV industry, although many team members enjoy overlanding, camping, and RVing.
King says this inexperience in the RV industry is a “massive strength.”
“Tesla would never have been able to reinvent the car had they been in the car business,” King said. “Just being in that changes your field of vision. We think it was necessary to not be in the RV industry to create a truly new and unique product.”
So far, this investment is paying off.
The camper was an instant success upon its unveiling in early April.
To prove potential market success, the company’s goal was to have 100 to 200 interested customers within the first month. Instead, it saw 1,000 buyers.
According to King, the Cyberlandr team has already hit over $80 million in preorders, and it’s still seeing daily sales, which Insider confirmed.
It’s even received a one-word stamp of approval from Elon Musk, who called a video of the Cyberlandr “cool” in early July.
The entire unit can tuck away into the Cybetruck’s bed when it’s not in use. Think of it as a pop-top camper.
Let’s start in the kitchen, which has all the basic necessities with a tech-forward twist, like a voice-controlled smart faucet, a refrigerator, a porcelain countertop with a hidden cooktop, and a sink with a cutting board and drying rack.
The living room is right next to the kitchen, and comes with removable seats, voice or phone activated lights and temperature control, and a 32-inch smart television equipped with streaming services like Netflix and Apple TV.
This space can also be used as an office: The television can double as a second monitor, the pivoting tables can be used as desks, and the Cyberlandr’s Starlink satellite dish can provide an internet connection.
The living room also transforms into a bedroom. All you have to do is unfold the seats into a roughly queen-sized bed.
There’s also space under the bed to sleep an additional adult or two children.
Other amenities inside the tiny home on wheels include heated floors, an onboard bathroom with a shower, sink, and toilet, and smart glass that can dim for more privacy.
In the short term, the company will be leasing a manufacturing facility just outside of Austin, Texas. But looking ahead, Stream It plans to create its own facility in the city.
Despite this prep work, King is “really nervous” about the first customers that ordered a Cyberlandr.
The product is wholly dependent on the final Cybertruck specifications, so if Tesla doesn’t share them before the Cybertrucks are shipped out, the team will have to take their own measurements and tweak the designs. This means the first few customers might not have their Cyberlandrs by the time their Cybertrucks are ready.
“We’re ramping up everything to make sure we can respond very quickly to those changes and get them out as soon as possible afterwards,” King said.
Ford issued three safety recalls on Friday, impacting its Explorer, Lincoln Aviator, and F-350 Super Duty pickup truck.
The recall covers over 850,000 vehicles which were identified as having increased risks of crash or fire.
In a press release, Ford said it was recalling nearly 800,000 Ford Explorer models that were made between 2013 and 2017 due to a malfunction that could significantly diminish steering control and increase the probability of a car crash.
Drivers of the SUV that have been impacted by the defect may notice “a clunk noise, unusual handling, or a misaligned rear wheel.” The company said that six allegations of injury have been connected to the issue.
The majority of the impacted vehicles are in North America and in locations that experience cold weather, high humidity, as well as the use of road salt.
The recall also covers about 35,000 2020 and 2021 models of the Ford F-350 Super Duty that have a 6.7-liter engine. The car models have been identified as at an elevated risk of a crash, though the company said no injuries related to the pickup truck’s potential for a disconnected driveshaft have been reported to date.
Similarly, the 2020 and 2021 Lincoln Aviator’s recall has not been connected to any injuries. Though, Ford is recalling over 40,000 of the cars that are equipped with a 3.0-liter gas engine, due to fire risk caused by the interaction between the A/C pulley and the car’s battery.
Ford will notify customers of the individual recalls by mid-August and dealers will inspect the vehicles for the potential defects.
A few months prior, Ford recalled 2.6 million vehicles due to airbag issues. At the time, the company anticipated the recall would cost about $610 million. A Ford spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.
The base model SUV’s range is estimated to be around 250 miles to 300-plus miles, depending on the model.
The Hummer EV SUV debuted during an ad narrated by NBA star LeBron James during the NCAA’s Final Four game between the Baylor Bears and Houston Cougars on CBS.
These latest Hummer models will be competing against several other vehicles, including Tesla’s ‘Cybertruck‘, a futuristic-looking EV pickup that joins the roster of the company’s sports cars. The Cybertruck made headlines at its launch after its “armour glass” windows shattered twice during CEO Elon Musk’s presentation.